EU ambassador: CETA hasn’t killed Australia trade deal hopes
Sem Fabrizi (left) and Dr Mark Higgie (Australian ambassador to the EU) speak at the EU-Australia Leadership Forum | European Union
CANBERRA — The EU’s rough path towards forging a trade agreement with Canada and the growing backlash against globalization in European countries has not sunk Australia’s chance of forging a pact with Brussels, the EU’s ambassador to Australia told POLITICO today.
“I wouldn’t say the discussions with Canada mean there is less appetite for an Australian deal,” Sem Fabrizi said on the sidelines of the Canberra launch of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum. “There are challenges, globally people are looking inward, but the EU realizes we need to engage more with the world. We don’t underestimate the challenge, but we remain committed to being open to the world.”
Fabrizi said the new forum is designed to shape the relationship between the EU and Australia over the next three years.
“The objective is to create ideas to influence the wider relationship, to help raise awareness in the EU and in Australia on how important we are to each other,” he said.
The inaugural meeting of the forum’s steering committee will be held today via video-link. Members of the committee include Pascal Lamy, the former director-general of the World Trade Organization, Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Policy Center and former Belgian prime minister and president of the European Council, and Christian Leffler, deputy secretary-general of the EEAS.
The first high-level leadership forum is due to take place in Australia in the first half of 2017, and is likely to focus on trade, investment and globalization, among other themes.