The EU-Australia Leadership Forum (EUALF) is a unique project in the EU's suite of public diplomacy actions and demonstrates a shared commitment to the already strong bilateral relationship. The Forum's overall objective is to broaden and deepen the existing ties and in so doing, help shape the vision for the partnership, based on the future EU-Australia Framework Agreement and forthcoming EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
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The core of the project is the EU-Australia Senior Leaders Forum, a high level event to be held annually, alternately in Australia and in Europe. This forum will bring together key European and Australian leaders from Government and Opposition, business, media, education and civil society. It will provide input and ideas to diversify and intensify the relationship in key areas.
The Senior Leaders Forum will be complemented by the EU-Australia Emerging Leaders Forum. This will bring together young and energetic professionals, MPs, academics and policy makers from both Australia and Europe to engage in discussions around the future of the EU-Australia relationship. They will contribute their ideas and recommendations to the Senior Leaders Forum.
The project will also run regular Expert Policy Workshops ahead of regular officials-level EU-Australia Sectoral Dialogues, which cover topics such as security, counter terrorism, trade, education, macro-economic issues and development. These workshops will provide critical, analytical and innovative thinking to inform the officials-level dialogues and assist the strategic discussions of the Senior Leaders and Emerging Leaders fora.
A dedicated media strategy will be implemented throughout the project. While discussions at the Senior Leaders Forum will be confidential and frank, a Forum Communique will be made public. Several papers and publications on various key policy issues will be produced to inform both the Senior Leaders and Emerging Leaders Fora, and Expert Policy Workshops.
A Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee comprising leaders from Europe and Australia across all sectors – government, industry, academia, NGOs and interest groups – will help guide the project.
The EU-Australia Leadership Forum is launched officially in Brussels on 8 September with the first EU-Australia Senior Leaders Forum to take place in the first half of 2017.
The project funded by the European Union through the Partnership Instrument (EUR 2 million, approximately AUD 3 million) will cover a period of three years (2016-2019) and will commence with a baseline study to evaluate the current state of play, as well as public perceptions and awareness of the EU-Australia relationship. The contract is managed by a consortium led by MWH – now part of Stantec, in partnership with the Australian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA), Agriconsulting Europe (AESA) and the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GACIC).