The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, met with the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on Monday 5th September 2011 to discuss the relationship between Australia and the European Union.
It was agreed that AusAID and EuropeAid would deliver aid on one another’s behalf in order to capitalise on local experience held by each agency. The two sides also discussed moves to share Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in civil aviation, ostensibly to combat terrorism, as well as exchange nuclear energy expertise between Australia and the European Atomic Energy Community.
Carbon trading – a controversial policy about to be implemented in Australia – was also on the agenda:
“Noting the European Union has had an emissions trading scheme since 2005, and the Australian Government plans to introduce a carbon price mechanism from 1 July 2012, they agreed that both sides had a strong mutual interest in working to expand and deepen global carbon markets. They agreed to establish Senior Officials Talks to exchange experience on design and implementation and to address cooperation on economy-to-economy measures, including the conditions which would allow for linking of our emissions trading schemes at an appropriate point in the future.”
A larger carbon trading market would help to stabilise prices and widen the ability of companies to purchase and sell credits. However, the implementation of a carbon trading system has been the subject of rigorous debate in Australia as the drawbacks of putting a price on carbon emissions have been exposed by the experiences of the European system.