In Conversation with Europe - EU Diplomats visit Adelaide

Jean Monnet Chair, Richard Pomfret - panel discussion

The panel discussion was hosted by Jacqueline Lo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and introduced by Catherine Branson, Chancellor of the University of Adelaide. After an opening address from Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Australia, the panellists, Jurij Rifelj, Ambassador of Slovenia, Francesca Tardioli, Ambassador of Italy, Thomas Fitschen, Ambassador of Germany, and Marion Derckx, Ambassador of the Netherlands, gave brief remarks around the questions: what is the role of middle powers such as Australia and the EU, and can multilateralism survive emerging regional tensions?

A lively Q&A included frank assessments of the challenges to multilateralism. They agreed that the fundamental challenges were present before the COVID-19 pandemic and not solely due to US policies. At the same time, they emphasized the common features of EU and Australian support for multilateralism.  A recording of the panel discussion can be found here

Richard Pomfret, in a final appearance as Jean Monnet Chair, thanked the participants. In his closing remarks, he emphasized the importance of EU-Australia collaboration, as leading middle-power supporters of the multilateral system working together in maintaining and promoting a rules-based system for international economic relations. This involves support for the World Trade Organization as the institution setting basic rules for international trade.  On issues beyond WTO rules such as e-commerce or intellectual property rights, the EU has deep integration agreements with Japan, Canada and other countries.  Australia has similar deep agreements, including most notably the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. The Australia-EU trade agreement currently being negotiated will provide a link unifying the network of WTO+ agreements.

The ambassadors’ visit reflected strong mutual interest in greater collaboration between South Australia and EU countries. The dinner speakers included Vickie Chapman, Deputy Premier of South Australia and Attorney-General, and Stephen Patterson, Minister for Trade and Investment of South Australia. The dinner featured wines made by the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, as well as by alumni of the University of Adelaide, highlighting two of SA’s major export industries: education and wine.

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Tagged in Europe, European Union, Centre of Excellence, Events Highlight

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