PowerPoint: Mr Edward Yencken

Edward Yencken
PhD Candidate
School of Social and Political Sciences
The University of Melbourne
 Presentation based on two cases studies of PhD thesis:
 The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
 The Eurozone Crisis
 Seeks to examine the way that these two issues have
impacted on relations between Australia and the EU
 Based on first of two sets of interviews with officials
 Will argue firstly that Australia has historically focused on
bilateral disputes (the CAP), at expense of establishing a
more broad-based and constructive relationship
 Identification of common norms and values however has
contributed to a belief that Australia’s interests are best
served by seeking a more broad-based relationship with
the EU (no longer focus on issues of consternation)
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The CAP as the basis for conflict
 CAP implemented in 1962, immediate impact was to
restrict the access of third countries such as Australia to
the EU agricultural market
 Menzies government campaigned strongly against the
CAP and impact on Australian exports to the UK in
1960s (should UK join EU)
 Accession of the UK to the EU in 1973 seen as having
potentially severe repercussions for agricultural exports
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Fears Become Reality?
 By late 1970s CAP ‘contributing importantly to a decline in
Australia’s export income from some agricultural exports,
notably sugar’ (Burnett, 1983, p. 1)
 Did occur concurrently with significant expansion of
Australian trade in Asia-Pacific region
 Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, described the CAP
‘as a protectionist monster’ (cited in Renouf, 1983)
 Criticism reflected how Australian fears about the CAP
were seen as coming to fruition
 CAP by end of 1970s becomes all-encompassing issue
dominating bilateral relations
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Share of total value of Australian exports (per cent) to EC (9)
Beef & Veal
Dairy Products & Eggs
Source: Burnett, 1983
The Persistence of the CAP
 Continues to dominate relationship in the 1980s
 A.D. Brown (1983) ‘so long as agricultural surpluses are
exported by the EEC as a result of subsidised
production… there will be difficulties between
Australia and the Community’
 EU recognition “The so-called misconceptions of the
past, were grounded in substance. The EU was a
pretty protectionist bloc on the CAP in the 1960s, 70s
and 80s, Australia was rightly against it” (Council
Official, 2012)
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Impact of Australian Criticism
 Distracted from broader relationship
 Ward (2002), overemphasis on the CAP contributed to
‘missed opportunities’ in non-agricultural trade
sectors and the ‘enhancement of cultural and social
 ‘Collective amnesia’ (Groom 1989) Australia unaware
of important EU developments (single market)
 EU becomes Australia’s largest trading partner by early
1990s but criticism continued
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Nicholson, The Australian, 2002
CAP Reforms and Impact
 MacSharry and GATT reforms and positive effect
 Subsequent CAP reforms impact (Agenda 2000, 2003,
Towards 2020)
 Australian perceptions begin to shift
 Reforms seen as not only reducing restrictions on Australian
access to the EU market but improving perceptions of the
EU as an open and important international market (DFAT,
 DG Trade Official (2012)“There is certainly a recognition on
the Australian side that the EU has moved quite a long way,
even if from an Australian perspective we are still not doing
things in exactly the same way that perhaps they would see
as being close enough to their own policy decisions”
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Source: European Commission, 2013
‘Multilateralising’ or ‘Bypassing’ the CAP?
 Moving discussions to the WTO, isolating or
‘multilateralising’ the issue supported by both
Australia and the EU
Separating from rest of relationship
Shared view that WTO ‘right place’ to discuss the issue
CAP no longer defines relations (Australian Official,
More generally, EU and Australia share common
objectives in relation to the WTO and current Doha
round (DG Trade Official, 2012)
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Changing perceptions
 Evolution of Australian approach, recognition of
common interests (trade and other policy sectors)
 “The problem we had with Australia was not that there
were a number of disputes; the problem is the
perception of these disputes as an indicator of the level
of relations” (EEAS Official, 2012)
 “Progress has definitely been made. The Australian
Ambassador told me his predecessors were spending
20-30 per cent of their time on agriculture but that he
was only spending 5 per cent of his time on
agricultural issues” (DG Agriculture Official, 2012)
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Future of the CAP in Bilateral Relations
 “I think there is an elephant in the room… when it gets to
agriculture for both sides” (DG Trade Official, 2012)
 FTA negotiations (should they commence). “If ever there
is a Free Trade Agreement then agriculture will become
more of an active issue” (EP Official, 2012)
 Contrast however, ‘agriculture as being more of a
facilitator’ not an ‘impediment’ in the future. “The area of
research is an area where we do have commonalities and
where we will be cooperating much more than now” (DG
Agriculture Official, 2012)
 Broad-based relationship (interactions over more areas)
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Between the CAP and the Eurozone Crisis
 Improvement of political relations under Howard government
(despite public rhetoric) and acceleration under Rudd/Gillard
Significant number of bilateral agreements (Joint Declaration,
Agenda for Cooperation, PF Agreement, Framework Agreement)
Emphasis on common interests and values, tangible
representation of improved bilateral relations
Increased number of high level Australian and EU visits
Relationship improving substantially ‘behind the scenes’ over
past two decades
 EEAS Official (2012)– Downer and Patten relationship
 “The current Australian ambassador (Brendan Nelson) has been
extremely helpful and effective beyond anything that I have seen
before” (EEAS Official, 2012)
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Eurozone Crisis – Early Interactions
 Early Australian government belief that financial crisis
was a global issues
 Former Foreign Minister Stephen Smith noted ‘the
need for a global response to the international
financial crisis’ (2012)
 No specific country or region blamed
 Several EU Officials note problems in the global
economy as having started in US
 Instability in the EU connected with GFC
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Australian Criticism Emerges
 Wayne Swan “I accept that they face a European crisis,
for Europeans to solve… but Europe must also
recognise that there is a weight of responsibility to all
other economies of the world to do this” (cited in Uren
& Norington, 2011)
 Council Official (on Swan criticism) “It was a bit of an
irritant and not that helpful” (2012)
 Commission President Jose Barroso “frankly, we are
not coming here to receive lessons in terms of
democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy”
(cited in Wintour, Traynor, & Smith, 2012)
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Lobbecke, The Australian, 2012
Negative Influence of Australian Media
 Widely observed as a problem amongst officials
interviewed (EU and Australian to lesser extent)
 Contributing to negative perceptions of the EU and
importance of bilateral relationship
 “Australia, just like many other parts of the world, has
negative perceptions of the crisis but this has been
exacerbated by inaccurate Australian press coverage of
the issue” (EEAS Official, 2012)
 Criticism of handling of the crisis being used to sustain
longstanding anti-EU prejudices in Australia
 Sheridan and McCrann, The Australian
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Need to Change Perceptions
 “Public perceptions need to be addressed so as to
reflect the strength of bilateral agreements”(EEAS
Official, 2012)
 “The battle of the Australian Mission in Brussels is to
get a different image of the EU through to the
Australian public” (Council Official, 2012)
 Extent to which this is possible?
 No Australian journalists in Brussels (noted by a
number of EU officials)
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Impact of Criticism on Bilateral Relationship
 Australian official, major impact is likely to be
internally within the EU (an ‘EU confidence issue’) but
‘unknown variable’ in the bilateral relationship (2012)
 ‘On the ground’ it has not ‘practical’ impact. It is more
problematic at the political level (EEAS Official, 2012)
 More impact in future?
 “Singling out the Europeans last year, we might have
been willing to take the stick, but this year, I think as
our political public begins to have a more mature sense
of all this, there will be a greater sense of impatience
regarding too much criticism” (EEAS Official, 2012)
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More Internally Focused?
 Australia in Asia-Pacific and the EU within Europe and
immediate region
“I think at the moment it is quite normal and natural because
the Asia-Pacific is close to Australia and there is a similar
situation in Europe with countries in the region” (MEP, 2012)
Potential for ignoring each other?
“Australia has been more engaged in Asia and more engaged
with Europe at the same time. Australia’s engagement with Asia
has reinforced the relationship with the EU” (DG Trade Official,
“The idea that we are focused on our part of the world and
somehow not paying sufficient attention (to other issues) is out
of date” (DG Trade Official, 2012)
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Recognition of Impact
 Council Official (2012) “The Australian Mission, they
are very much aware that what the papers say is not
the whole truth and that we still, by far, have the
largest economy in the world and we are still one of
your largest trade partners”
 Crisis has not distracted from bilateral relationship.
Cooperation has in fact increased e.g. G20 (Australian
Official, 2012)
 Divergence between official cooperation and political
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A Durable Bilateral Relationship?
 “Relationship is broad-based enough so as to mean
that one particular issue cannot have a significant
impact” (Australian Official, 2012)
Just a political irritant?
“It does have an impact but I don’t feel that it has an
impact that really changes the overall relationship”
(DG Trade Official, 2012)
Crisis as facilitating further cooperation?
“Crisis is forcing the EU to do more with less money,
meaning that closer cooperation with Australia is in its
interests” (Australian Official, 2012)
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Beyond Bilateral Disputes?
 “As it is a controversial issue, the CAP will always receive
attention. It still consumes too much of EU budget”
(Australian Official, 2012)
 Similar with Eurozone crisis?
 Cooperation now extend to almost all areas, even trade and
agricultural policy
 Likely to be reflected in depth and breath of Framework
 Limitations of Framework Agreement?
 “The real meter for trade negotiators is a Free Trade
Agreement but that isn’t on the table” (DG Trade Official,
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Shared Interests
 “We are a natural ally with Australia” and “we are on the
same side as Australia in almost all trade discussions”
(Council Official, 2012)
 “The relationship is smooth, you can have from time to
time surprising issues or small hiccups”. Extent to which
the ‘Australian file’ is perceived as relaxing (DG Trade
Official, 2012)
 Common norms and values as basis of relationship (no
longer one dimensional)
 “I used to say to my Australian colleagues if you were not
on the other side of the world you could easily be an EU
member state because of cultural, language, outlook on the
economy, human rights issues etc. (EEAS Official, 2012)
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