Today the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop and the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, signed the EU-Australia Framework Agreement.

The signing of the Framework Agreement marks the beginning of a new era of strategic cooperation between Australia and the European Union (EU).

The Agreement will enhance cooperation between Australia and the EU to tackle challenges in foreign and security policy, sustainable development, climate change, and economic and trade matters. It will encourage closer links between leaders across government, business and civil society.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, "Australia and the EU are natural partners. We share common values and cultural heritage, and are committed to free and open markets.

"The Framework Agreement builds on our already close ties and aspirations for deeper cooperation and will strengthen Australia's bilateral relationship with the EU, in an era of unprecedented global development and volatility."

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said, "Europe and Australia are geographically very far apart, but we work together on a daily basis on the global stage, as like-minded partners and friends. Ours is a partnership of opportunities: bringing our populations closer together to facilitate exchanges, trade, and sharing knowledge.

"The Agreement we have signed today reflects how strong our ties are already and how they will become stronger through our increased exchanges and cooperation, for the sake of our peoples and of the world."

The Agreement will guide future engagement between Australia and the EU and complement work towards launching negotiations for a comprehensive, high quality free trade agreement.

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