THE EU AND AUSTRALIA: BEYOND THE ‘TYRANNY OF DISTANCE’?

In: The European Union and Asia

Abstract

This chapter returns to an investigation of one of the leitmotivs of this book: the role of perceptions in the European Union’s relations with the Asia-Pacific. Adapting Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey’s famous 1966 adage about the ‘tyranny of distance’, the author examines both the theory and practice of the Union’s relations with Australia. The author goes beyond the long-standing, single-issue, rhetoric which surrounds the role and the implications of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in those relations. The chapter instead points to the much wider opportunities for cooperation now evolving between the two continents. From an assessment of the evolution of UK-Australia relations, the chapter expands into a critical account of issues such as identity, engagement, institutional collaboration and visibility, which give shape to the contemporary EU-Australia relationship. The author further investigates the many asymmetries and contradictions in EU-Australia relations, arguing for a necessary reduction of persistent comprehension-deficits. In this context, many of the inter-institutional, diplomatic and educational tools of the new EU-Australia cooperation assume a particular significance.

The European Union and Asia

Reflections and Re-orientations

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