30 October 2008

Australia, EU shake hands on "historic partnership"

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has signed an historic partnership deal with the European Union today, which includes a pledge to assist each other through the global financial crisis and cooperation on visas, security, trade, and climate change, reports news.com.au.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the partnership is very important for securing economic ties with the EU, especially during these times of turmoil.

"The partnership agreement that Australia and the European Union have adopted today is, in Australia's eyes, a deeply historic agreement," Mr Smith said in Paris.

"But our modern relationship transcends our economies.  It covers shared values, a shared belief in international laws, the rule of law, human rights, shared belief in acting in a regional sense and in ... multilateral forums."

Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign Minister, said the EU and Australia were in "complete agreement" on issues such as sharing Australian visa and EU visa programmes, international issues, including Africa and Asia-Pacific, security and trade, environment, climate change and science.

"We were completely on board together on the economic crisis," Mr Kouchner said.

Mr Krouchner has said he would accept his invitation to visit Australia next year.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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