About the project
After decades of tension and conflict, Australia’s relationship with the European Union (EU) has reached a milestone. The new engagement is comprehensive, reflecting an Australian all-of-government commitment to work with the EU, its institutions and member states. As the multi-faceted Framework Agreement (FA) came into force in 2017, this treaty level relationship constitutes a priority engagement. It will strengthen EU-Australia actions and interests on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Yet significant challenges place the relationship at a critical juncture. Faced with Brexit, uncertainly about the United States’ international role, and increasing regional and global instability, Australia and the EU are seeking to enhance cooperation to tackle these challenges.
This project assesses relations between Australia and the EU and the opportunity for this engagement to further develop around a range of policies and forums. It will examine the dialogue and negotiation of key agreements, policy cooperation (including multilateral and regional cooperation, security, trade, refugee flows) especially within the Asia-Pacific/Indo Pacific. It will assess the implications of the FA and the commencement of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement as well as their progress.
This project will present new paradigms for advancing the relationship, including collaboration on issue-based leadership within multilateral and plurilateral forums such as the WTO, the Asia Europe Meeting and G20. The steps already taken towards a more comprehensive relationship have been significant. The distance that has been traversed from misunderstanding to the current engagement suggests that steady engagement, socialisation, political will and an incrementalist approach can all bear fruit.
The project will be conducted by Professor Philomena Murray (Jean Monnet Chair ad personam) and Dr Margherita Matera, both from the School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne.
Professor Philomena Murray
Philomena Murray is Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Between 2014 and 2017 she was Research Director on Regional Governance in the European Union (EU) Centre on Shared Complex Challenges. From 2000 to 2009 she was Director of the Contemporary Europe Research Centre, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. She holds Australia's only Jean Monnet Chair ad personam awarded by the EU. She received a national Carrick (Australian Learning and Teaching Council) Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for pioneering the first European Union curriculum in Australia and leadership in national and international curriculum development. She is an assessor for the Australian Research Council; the European Research Council and national schemes. A former diplomat, she has run training courses on the EU for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.
She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Business at Trinity College Dublin; Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges and Associate Research Fellow at UNU-CRIS (United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies), Bruges. She is Vice-Chair of the Board of the International Political Science Association's Research Committee on European Unification. She is founder of the Contemporary European Studies Association of Australia.
She has won numerous EU grants. She led and coordinated the successful $1million joint Australian government/EU funded Coursework Masters Exchange Program in International Relations: A European-Australian Asia-Pacific Nexus (EAAPN), 2003-09. She currently holds a Jean Monnet teaching module entitled Comparative Regional Governance.
Her research interests are in comparative regional integration; EU-Asia relations; EU-Australia relations and EU governance and legitimacy.
- Longo, M. and Murray, P. (2015) Europe’s Legitimacy Crisis: From Causes to Solutions, Palgrave Pivot
- Brennan, L. and Murray, P. (2015) Drivers of Integration and Regionalism in Europe and Asia: Comparative Perspectives, Routledge
- Christiansen, T., Kirchner, E. and Murray, P. (eds.,) (2013), The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations, Palgrave
- Murray, P. and Rees, N. (eds.) “European and Asian Regionalism: Form and Function”, International Politics, 47, 3/4, May/July 2010
- Murray, P. (ed.) (2008) Europe and Asia: Regions in Flux, Palgrave
- Murray, P. (2005) Australia and the European Superpower, Melbourne University Press
She is co-editing a special issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs on EU-Australia Relations with Dr Margherita Matera.
Dr Margherita Matera
Margherita Matera’s research focuses on the EU's security and defence cooperation, the EU as a foreign policy, security and crisis management actor, NATO and the transatlantic relationship, EU-Australia relations, and comparative regionalism. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Summer Research Scholar Program Grant from the European Union Center of Excellence and European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
Margherita teaches on EU integration, comparative European politics and international relations. She has been a researcher on several EU funded grants. She is co-editing a special issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs on EU-Australia Relations with Professor Philomena Murray.
She is member of the Contemporary European Studies Association of Australia’s Executive Committee and a member of the editorial board of Australian and New Zealand Journal of European Studies.
Information on the following partners will be published as soon as it becomes available
- Project Steering Committee
- Researchers associated with the project
- Government bodies associated with the project
- Civil society groups associated with the project
At a time when the EU-Australia relationship has reached a new level of engagement, it is important to assess and critically examine the key challenges and opportunities facing this engagement, especially in light such developments as Brexit, the shifting focus of the US under President Donald Trump, rising regional and international instability and conflict.
The project will assess:
- The ambition and drive to liberalise markets, to negotiate free trade agreements and to achieve enhanced competitiveness within national and regional economies
- The need to understand ideational factors and values in the relationship; the implications of Brexit for EU-Australia, EU-UK and UK-Australia relations
- The search for multilateral and regional approaches to global challenges such as terrorism; climate change; refugee flows; energy security; food security; natural disasters; pandemics and the need for crisis-management mechanisms
- The search for progress towards a consolidated bilateral cooperation between the EU and Australia
- The need for a comprehensive analysis of the Framework Agreement, and how that Framework Agreement will shape the contours of the future relationship
- How the EU-Australia relationship can be utilised within the Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific region to strengthen the position of both the EU and Australia within that region, and to develop collaborative solutions to shared concerns
- Prospects for future cooperation and increased mutual understanding of both ideational challenges and policy strategies
- Allison-Reumann, L. Matera, M. and Murray, P., "Brexit seen from Australia: pragmatism should trump nostalgia," Europe’s World, 25 April 2017
- Matera, M. Allison-Reumann, L. and Murray, P., "Keeping Brexit in Perspective for Australia," The Diplomat, 21 April 2017
- Matera, M. and Murray, P., "Brexit and Australia: the way forward," Pursuit, 2 July 2016
- Murray, P., "Brexit. Over and Out," Pursuit, 25 June 2016
- Walter, A., Sullivan, H., and Murray, P., "The Brexit Shock. What does it mean for Australia?" Election Watch, 2016
This project will run two major workshops in 2018 and 2019, one in Melbourne and one in Brussels. In addition, the project will hold a series of seminars and lectures over the course of the project.
Information relating to these events will be made available on this website.
This project assesses relations between Australia and the EU and the opportunity for this engagement to further develop around a range of policies and forums.