Luke Raffin


Casting the spotlight over a complex and dynamic relationship, this article seeks to diagnose the state of relations between the European Union and Australia by contrasting the sources of tension with the forces of unity in the relationship. After illuminating the substantial differences between the EU and Australia in the political, military and economic spheres, the article asserts that the Common Agricultural Policy (‘CAP’) has disproportionately influenced the EU-Australia dialogue and — like the Howard Government’s propensity to bilateralism — needlessly impeded the advancement of relations. The impact of bilateral relations with the United States and the increasingly contentious challenges posed by global climate change have threatened to destabilise the bond between Brussels and Canberra. However, the article insists that the destructive potential of CAP-related disagreement is dissipating. Rather, debates over agriculture in the EU-Australia dialogue have been emasculated by rapidly intensifying social, political and cultural integration. Moreover, the development of Australia’s relationships with its Asian neighbours promises to optimise Australian engagement with Europe. After carefully weighing these competing factors, the article concludes that — despite the transitory phases of discord — the future for the EU-Australia relationship is bright.


Article Keywords

CAP, Australia, EU, External Relations

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