After concluding visits to India, The Hague and Iran today I begin a six day visit to Paris, Berlin and Brussels to advance Australia’s interests in Europe. I will be advocating for a free trade agreement between Australia and the European Union and strengthening cooperation on international security issues of mutual concern.

I will meet senior ministers in Paris, including Foreign Minister Fabius, to discuss responses to terrorist threats and efforts to counter radicalisation and violent extremism. We will also discuss cooperation in the Pacific where our nations both play an active role.

In Berlin, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and I will discuss the foreign fighter threat and the evolving security situation in the Middle East and eastern Ukraine. I will meet Minister of State Maria Böhmer to discuss the work of the newly-established Australia-Germany Advisory Group and Dr Böhmer’s role as Chair of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The steps Australia is taking to protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef will be a key focus of discussions.

In Brussels, I will meet senior European Commission counterparts, members of the European Parliament, the NATO Secretary-General, and Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, and Minister for the Interior, Jan Jambon.

I look forward to signing the Australia-EU Crisis Management Agreement and marking the finalisation of the Australia-EU Framework Agreement negotiations with Federica Mogherini the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

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