Joint press release by the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
- Today, 16 November, the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, held the second Australia-EU Leaders’ Meeting in the margins of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. They welcomed the entry into force of the Framework Agreement between Australia and the EU, which marks a new milestone in the relationship.
- Meeting against the backdrop of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and a changing strategic outlook in the Indo-Pacific, the Leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to their shared values, in particular democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and a rules-based multilateral order. They will work closely together to address the climate and biodiversity crises and other urgent global challenges, and promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. They underlined the importance of an open, free, fair and resilient multilateral rules-based trading system and agreed to work together to implement the outcomes achieved at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, including having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system by 2024. They reaffirmed their opposition to the use of economic coercion, which is inconsistent with the international legal order and undermines the global trading system and agreed to work together to respond to such practices.
- They remain committed to working together to advance human rights and gender equality globally, including in their humanitarian action, development assistance and trade. They agreed on the importance of ensuring that the voices of Indigenous Peoples are heard at the international level, and on the need to learn from and embody their knowledge and experience.
- The Leaders acknowledged efforts to emerge from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and be better prepared for future pandemic threats. They committed to working together to enhance the global health security architecture, including through the negotiation of a legally binding international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, as well as founding donors of the newly established Pandemic Fund.
Russia / Ukraine
- The Leaders condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, illegal and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. They strongly supported the Joint Statement of the G7 and NATO Leaders on the margins of the G20 Summit in Bali. The EU and Australia commended each other’s strong, principled and united response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their collective show of support for Ukraine. The Leaders firmly rejected and will never recognise either the illegal attempted annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, nor the illegal sham ‘referenda’ that Russia engineered, with their falsified and illegal results. These regions, as well as Crimea, are Ukraine. Russia must immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its forces from within the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine and cease its aggression. Russia’s actions blatantly violate international law, including the UN Charter. The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to holding Russia, and all perpetrators and accomplices, to account, their strong support for the International Criminal Court investigation, and acknowledged Ukraine’s efforts to secure accountability, including for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Australia and the EU concurred that Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable and that any use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences. They stand resolutely with Ukraine and its people and remain unwavering in their support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
- The Leaders were committed to addressing the severe impact Russia’s war of aggression is having on people around the world through disruption and volatility of global energy and food markets. They supported the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative beyond its current period ending in November, and Australia welcomed the EU Solidarity Lanes which provided alternative routes to allow Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products to reach global markets.
- In this respect, the EU acknowledges the role that Australia can play in contributing to the stability of global gas markets through its steady supply to the Indo-Pacific. The two sides will deepen exchanges on these issues, including in the context of the EU’s REPower EU Plan. They will also enhance cross-sectoral cooperation to increase food security, including through work with developing countries.
Climate change, environment, and energy transition
- The Leaders emphasised their shared commitment to taking urgent and ambitious action to address climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, and to support small, developing and vulnerable states, including Pacific Island countries, with resilience building and adaptation in responding to climate change impacts.
- They remain deeply committed to full implementation of the Paris Agreement, noting the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees through rapid, deep and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in this decade and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and will spare no effort to bring about ambitious action by all members of the international community.
- The Leaders resolved to continue to work together in multilateral forums including at COP27 to deliver ambitious climate change outcomes in pursuit of the goals of Paris Agreement. We emphasise the urgent need to accelerate the transformation to renewable energy in this decade
- Australia commended the EU’s leadership on climate action, including through the European Green Deal. The EU welcomed the Australian Government’s determination to tackle climate change, its strengthened 2030 target to reduce emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as its decision to join the Global Methane pledge launched by the EU and the US in 2021.
- Reflecting their shared resolve to accelerate the transition to becoming net zero/climate neutral economies by 2050, the EU and Australia are committed to deepening cooperation on climate change and global just energy transition towards climate neutrality pathways, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, renewable and low-carbon hydrogen and clean energy supply chains. They will bring together experts, business and governments on both sides to discuss concrete solutions. The responsible Ministers will meet in the first half of 2023 to push high impact opportunities for collaboration, and the next Australia-EU High Level Dialogue on Climate Change and High Level Dialogue on Energy will take place in 2023.
- The Leaders also committed to cooperate to build resilient, ethical and sustainable critical minerals supply chains, by working together in relevant international initiatives, and by supporting greater trade and investment in critical and strategic minerals and energy through the future Australia-EU trade agreement. In parallel, they also agreed to an early start of discussions with a view to establishing a bilateral partnership on sustainable critical and strategic minerals.
- They highlighted the importance of promoting best practice and alignment on sustainable finance, and the EU welcomed Australia’s interest in joining the International Platform on Sustainable Finance.
- They recognised that climate change is a driver for disaster risks and noted their intention to expand their cooperation on climate change adaptation, including through disaster risk reduction and by building their respective capabilities in this respect.
- The Leaders will continue to champion together global environmental ambition, including conservation of biodiversity, circular economy, negotiation of an ambitious international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution by 2024, the sustainable use of the ocean and promoting sustainable forest management. They committed to work together towards the adoption of an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at COP15.2 in Montreal with clear and measurable goals and targets and a robust monitoring mechanism, and are committed to working towards the conclusion of a new legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction at the resumed fifth Intergovernmental Conference in 2023.
- The Leaders committed to enhance their cooperation in response to growing challenges in the Indo-Pacific. They discussed the EU’s determination to further its engagement in the region, in full respect of international law, including support for the rules-based international order, sustainable development, and the region’s green and digital transition, as well as the value Australia places on the EU’s contributions. Australia committed to working with the EU, alongside regional partners, on implementing its Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo‑Pacific and Global Gateway. The leaders also reiterated the importance of ASEAN centrality and ASEAN‑led architecture in underpinning regional stability and prosperity, and the strong principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo‑Pacific.
- The Leaders discussed the shared interest in an open and rules-based regional maritime architecture. They acknowledged the primacy of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides the comprehensive legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas. They reaffirmed their commitment to promote security and stability in the South China Sea, as well as to the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS. They underscored their support for freedom of navigation and overflight, and States’ ability to exercise their rights in relation to marine natural resources.
- They reaffirmed the commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and opposed any unilateral changes to the status quo. They underscored the importance of de-escalating tensions and the role of diplomacy in avoiding the risks of miscalculation.
- Noting the EU’s efforts to reinforce naval presence and diplomacy in the Horn of Africa and further into the Indian Ocean, the Leaders agreed to explore options for Australia’s participation in Operation ATALANTA in 2023. The implementation of the EU’s Coordinated Maritime Presence in the North Western Indian Ocean will also provide opportunities for cooperation. The Leaders also agreed to work together to enhance maritime security and safety in the Indo-Pacific, including through continued engagement on extending the EU’s Critical Maritime Routes in the Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO) capacity-building project. They agreed to enhance further cooperation on a range of security and defence issues.
- They further noted the importance of high quality, sustainable infrastructure to regional sustainable economic development, prosperity and resilience, as recognised in the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. They agreed that infrastructure development should be transparent, secure, inclusive, sustainable and enable well-informed investment decisions. They will further collaboration and pursue complementary actions in areas such as renewable energy and digital connectivity. The Leaders acknowledged the importance of a human-centric approach to the digital transformation, where the effective protection of personal data plays a crucial role and is a key enabler for cross-border cooperation.
- The Leaders acknowledged G20 efforts to support vulnerable countries in managing economic challenges and drive sustainable growth. They reiterated their commitment to ensure the timely, orderly and coordinated implementation of the Common Framework for Debt Treatment, to enable an effective pathway towards debt sustainability. They also committed to continue working towards enhancing debt transparency.
- They agreed to enhance cooperation on all matters affecting the Pacific, closely engaging with Pacific Island countries and working through Pacific-led regional architecture. They also highlighted the opportunity to work together in multilateral fora and in relevant initiatives including the Kiwa initiative.
Trade Agreement and economic relations
- The Leaders agreed to prioritise the conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement that generates new, commercially meaningful market access opportunities across all goods, services, investment and procurement. They welcomed the constructive 13th negotiation round in October, and the successful prior exchange of improved tariff, and services and investment offers. They acknowledged the vital role that trade and trade agreements play in prosperity, food security, equity and inclusion, innovation, and in diversifying markets and supply chains, including for the transition towards climate neutrality. They agreed that the trade agreement should embrace cutting-edge environmental standards and workers’ rights; support green transition to more sustainable industries and production; incorporate state-of-the-art digital trade rules; and contribute to growth, skills and jobs.
- Both sides agreed on the importance of negotiations between Australia and all EU Member States to expand the tax treaty network as a contribution to further strengthening overall economic relations.
Digital transformation and other bilateral items
- The Leaders agreed to explore opportunities for future cooperation in areas of mutual priority, including those identified under Horizon Europe such as health and the green and digital transitions. The EU noted that it would welcome Australia’s association to Horizon Europe. The leaders also committed to work together to harness benefits and address risks of critical technologies, including emerging, cyber and space technologies. In this regard, they recognised the contribution of the Sydney Dialogue and welcomed the EU’s possible future participation. The leaders noted the intention to hold the inaugural Australia-EU Transport and Space Dialogues in 2023.
- The Leaders reiterated the shared commitment of Australia and the EU to work together to eradicate child labour, forced labour and modern slavery, wherever they may occur. Australia and the EU will increase cooperation on online safety policy, tackling all forms of technology-facilitated gender-based violence and abuse, child sexual abuse and trafficking in human beings. They were united in their objective that citizens should be able to engage safely online, including in the ways reflected in the Declaration on the Future of the Internet.
- Building on Australia-EU cooperation in multilateral bodies, the Leaders agreed to work together to counter hybrid threats, including foreign information manipulation and interference, which erode trust in democratic institutions and the cohesion of societies.