The Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, met with senior Sydney business leaders at a lunch held in the NSW Parliament House on Friday, December 1.
Mr Schinas has responsibilities for migration, asylum and the EU’s fight against antisemitism, and he is visiting Sydney with the aim of strengthening EU-Australia cooperation from a people-centric perspective, particularly in the areas of security, skills, innovation, trade and culture.
During the European Australian Business Council lunch hosted by the Chief Executive Officer Jason Collins and held in the President’s Dining Room of the NSW Parliament, Mr Schinas had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the diaspora, Sydney business community and engage in conversations with them.
Mr Schinas is in Australia after negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the European Union broke down.
He said debates and arguments varied about why an agreement couldn’t be reached, but the two parties needed to look ahead for areas of co-operation.”
“No agricultural products, no cheese, no beef would be enough of a reason for Australia and the European Union not to work together in the future,” Mr Schinas said.
He flagged Australia’s participation in Europe’s flagship research and innovation funding program, Horizon, which has a budget of some $160 billion.
“Europe, the European Union and Australia, they have so much in common… they are on the same wavelength on everything that concerns global governance, we defend the same model of society,” he said.
The following business and community leaders were in attendance at the lunch:
- Graham Bradley AM, Chair of Infrastructure NSW.
- Dr Stephanie Fahey, Chair of the Australian Design Council.
- Professor Allan Fels AO from The University of Melbourne.
- Ioannis Mallikourtis, Greek Consul General of Greece in Sydney.
- His Excellency Gabriele Visentin, European Union Ambassador in Australia.
- John Weber, Chair of Airservices Australia.
- Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director of Business Sydney.
- Maria Kanellopoulou, Member of Cabinet of the European Commission.
- Greg Medcraft, former Chair of ASIC and Director of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD