The European Union and Global Engagement

The European Union and Global Engagement

Institutions, Policies and Challenges

Edited by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martínez Arranz and Pascaline Winand Winand

Written by a broad range of international experts, The European Union and Global Engagement examines the current state of the European Union and its relationship with the world. The book presents fresh perspectives on the interplay between EU internal developments and its global engagement. While considering the impact and presence of the EU around the world, the collection has a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. This interdisciplinary book is an essential and accessible resource for students and scholars of European studies, as well as for public servants, business practitioners, researchers and journalists. It will appeal to everyone who seeks to understand the fast-moving policy developments in the EU’s actions on the world stage.

Chapter 15: Antipodean antipathy: Australia’s relations with the European Union

Katrina Stats

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international relations


While Australia boasts longstanding, strong and intimate connections to Europe, its relationship with the European Union (EU) has traditionally been more fraught. Successive Australian governments have viewed the European integration project with a mixture of suspicion and concern, resulting in approaches that range from apathy to antipathy when dealing with the novel supranational configuration. This chapter charts the course of this rocky relationship between the ever-evolving EU and its antipodean partner from the 1950s until the present. Against the backdrop of the EU’s growing importance for Australia, it reviews the responses of various Australian leaders and governments to the EU, identifying the primary shapers and characteristics of the relationship. It highlights partisan differences, noting that relations have traditionally been more amicable under Labor governments and more acrimonious under Liberal/Coalition governments. This chapter comments on the consequences of these patterns, particularly in light of the election of Tony Abbott’s Coalition government in September 2013. It also examines contemporary perceptions of the EU and reveals a curious discrepancy between the EU’s actual and perceived importance for Australia. Finally, it ponders on the current state and possible future direction of Australia-EU relations.

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