Friday 22 September 2017

By Leighton McDonald-Stuart

Friday was a day firmly focused on the political will behind the European Union, both from an internal and external perspective. Our first visit for the day was to the Parliamentarium, a large educational facility that facilitates self-guided participation intended to help explain the political and legislative process behind the European Union, as well as charting the historical course of the broader European integration project from the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibitions at the Parliamentarium have a strong focus on the human conflict that has plagued the Continent in the first half of that century, and portray the narrative that the formation of the European Union has helped in a significant way to bring about peace, unity, and prosperity in the aftermath of two devastating World Wars and the Cold War. There are also detailed interactive exhibits that explain the processes in the European Parliament and the role of the European Commission (EC) and European Council. It is quite clear that the EU legislative process, even when compared to the deeply partisan legislatures in the United States and Australia, is formidable and time consuming, often requiring unanimous support from all 28 member states.

Day 4 Photo 1

It was a perfect preamble to our next stop, a “Chatham House-rules” discussion with Mr Martin Selmayr, Chief of Staff to EC President Jeane-Claude Juncker. While the exact discussions cannot be disclosed, it is obvious that Mr Selmayr has a strong drive to enact the bold reforms proposed in President Juncker’s recent State of the Union speech, taking the EU firmly forward.

Day 4 Photo 2

Mr Martin Selmayr

Trade is a strong aspect of that agenda, with President Juncker explicitly singling out Australia and New Zealand as high priorities for free trade agreements. It is only natural that this became a topic of intense discussion when the student group met with Ms Helen Stylianou and Ms Laura Bellamy at the Australian Embassy in Brussels. Ms Stylianou serves as Deputy Head of the Australian Embassy to Belgium and Luxembourg, and the Permanent Mission to the European Union and NATO, while Ms Bellamy serves as Second Secretary. The Australian Mission in Brussels will play an increasingly important role in assisting with these negotiations as Australia seeks to gain market access for its high value exports.

Day 4 Photo 3

From left to right: Maddison Briggs, Kari Seeley, Maddy Terrell, Sofia Valero, Griff Blewett, Ben Pascoe-Purvis, Leighton McDonald-Stuart, Ms Helen Stylianou, Ms Laura Bellamy, Robert Monterosso

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By Kari Seeley

On 13 September 2017, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his annual State of the Union address at the European Parliament.

It was a speech given on the other side of the world, about countries as far away as you can get from Australia, and a casual observer may conclude that this speech had little, if anything, to do with Australia. But they would be wrong.

President Juncker spoke about strengthening the European trade agenda, and declared Europe “open for business” – perhaps borrowing the line from The UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to the World Economic Forum in January 2017. The optimistic tone was raised further with confirmation of a new free trade agreement with Canada, and a new bilateral economic partnership with Japan, with the expectation of having a similar economic partnership with Mexico and other Latin American countries to follow by the end of the year.

President Juncker also announced the launch of trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

And, this is where it gets particularly interesting, the President of the European Commission also announced an intention to finalise all those trade agreements by the end of this Commission’s current mandate, that is by November 2019.

Given the snail’s pace at which such negotiations have typically proceeded heretofore, delivery of a binding Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the European Union in the next two years would be positively Eurostar speed!

This augurs well for South Australian businesses and the South Australian economy. The State Government of South Australia released the South Australia – Europe Engagement Strategy in December 2016, and is already touting an action plan to be well placed to leverage the opportunities for investment, exports and research partnerships with the European Union in the next two years and beyond. And through the South Australian – French Engagement Strategy, the State Government is fostering even closer ties directly with France, in partnership with the Federal Government of Australia, and thereby sending a very clear message:

President Juncker and President Macron, South Australia is open for business!

Download a copy of State of the Union 2017 brochure HERE.

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The EU Centre for Global Affairs, and the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, invite you to the Macau Days Panel. In this panel renowned artist John Young, acclaimed writer Brian Castro, and award-winning composer/media artist Luke Harrald talk about their collaboration on Macau Days, an exhibition exploring Macau’s rich transcultural history as the oldest European settlement in Asia. Young, Castro and Harrald will discuss the stories, ideas and images that inspired their works, such as artists and writers Wenceslau de Moraes (writer/translator, 1854-1929) and Wu Li (poet/priest, 1632-1718), and court artist and Italian Jesuit, Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766).

Download the Panel flyer HERE and the Exhibition flyer HERE. More details can be found on the Open State Hub event website.

Date: Sunday 8 October 2017

Time: 11.00-11.45am

Venue: Open State Hub, Victoria Square, Adelaide, 5000 (Map)

RSVP: This is a FREE event

In collaboration with:


The J. M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice
Where inspiration, invention and ideas come together

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Thursday 21 September 2017 By Griff Blewett On the third day of the European Union Centre for Global Affairs’ trip to Europe, the University of Adelaide student group attended a Conference at Universite libre de Bruxelles (ULB University), where they were exposed to some controversial views on the European response to the recent financial crisis as […]

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Wednesday 20 September By Robert Monterosso The 20th of September signalled the first day of official activities on the 2017 EU Centre for Global Affairs Study Tour. First on the itinerary was a visit to Friends of Europe, a leading Brussels-based European think tank, which is apolitical and aims to connect people, stimulate debate, and […]

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By Dr Danny Friedmann In its push for international acceptance of product names on its “claw back” list as Geographical Indications (GIs), the EU is on an offensive to make this happen via the Lisbon Agreement, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, bilateral trade agreements and a strategy of awareness-raising campaigns. This article will […]

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Tuesday 19 September By Maddy Terrell From left to right: Alia Papageorgiou, Griff Blewett, Robert Monterosso, Maddison Briggs, Kari Seeley, Jane Drake-Brockman, Sofia Valero, Maddy Terrell, Leighton McDonald-Stuart & Ben Pascoe-Purvis Eight law, arts and economics students, who barely know each other, with two weeks’ notice are heading to Europe. What started off as nervous […]

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In 2017, Economic and Commercial Counsellors from the European Union Member States will visit South Australia as part of their annual State and Territories Joint Mission. This mission will enable the Canberra-based EU Member State diplomats to learn about key sectors of the South Australian Economy, and the trade, investment and public procurement opportunities available […]

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The EU Centre for Global Affairs, and the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, invite you to the launch of Macau Days, an exhibition and trilingual book that explores the rich trans-cultural history of Macau, the oldest European settlement in Asia. The exhibition features the enigmatic images of John Young and the dazzling poetry and prose of Brian Castro brought […]

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To deepen the bilateral relationship between the EU and Australia, and to celebrate 60 years since the Treaty of Rome was signed, the EU Centre for Global Affairs will conduct a two-week Study Tour to the EU during the upcoming September mid-semester teaching break. The study tour is led by Professor Richard Pomfret, Jean Monnet Chair of […]

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