Institutions, Policies and Challenges
Edited by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martínez Arranz and Pascaline Winand Winand
Chapter 15: Antipodean antipathy: Australia’s relations with the European Union
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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