On 6 and 8 July, the European Union (EU) and New Zealand held their annual Joint Committee meeting at senior officials’ level, via video-conference. The Joint Committee is the primary annual event to review the EU-New Zealand partnership and to identify key areas for enhanced cooperation in the next 12 months.
The EU and New Zealand have a strong and wide ranging relationship, based on shared values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, a like-mindedness on international issues as well as personal and trade connections. They share a deep commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and to ensuring that multilateralism is effective. During the meeting, the partners agreed to hold a dedicated expert dialogue later in 2021 on strengthening multilateralism.
The EU and New Zealand updated each other on domestic efforts to fight climate change. The EU and New Zealand discussed cooperation on international climate action, including in the Pacific, and preparations for the upcoming COP-26. They also discussed the promotion of biodiversity, plastics, circular economy and waste management with a view to enhancing cooperation in these areas.
The two partners noted progress on EU-New Zealand free trade negotiations, including their shared ambitions for a high quality agreement with strong sustainability provisions.
The EU congratulated New Zealand on the appointment of Dr David Walker to facilitate the WTO response to COVID-19.
The EU and New Zealand discussed opportunities to strengthen cooperation in research and innovation through Horizon Europe, the EU’s new science funding programme. The two partners also talked about concrete ways to design safe travelling in post-COVID-19 times and agreed to engage in expert talks on interoperability of vaccination certificates.
In a context of increasing geostrategic competition in the region, the EU briefed on its Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which aims to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development. The partners also agreed to explore further opportunities for enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, for instance in the areas of ocean governance and maritime security.
Making a safer world is a shared goal for the EU and New Zealand and they compared notes on efforts to counter terrorism, violent extremism and online terrorist content, as well as foreign interference and disinformation. The senior officials welcomed progress in the negotiation of an EU-New Zealand agreement on law enforcement data transfers between Europol and the New Zealand Police. They also agreed to hold an expert meeting on resilience against disinformation later in 2021.
In the past year, the EU and New Zealand were pleased to restart their Human Rights Consultations, which complements their work in Geneva and New York. They agreed to hold their next annual Human Rights Consultations by May 2022.
The EU delegation was led by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service. The New Zealand delegation was led by Mr Taha Macpherson, Divisional Manager Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.