Although NATO is much stronger than Russia, it is challenged by the war in Ukraine because it does not participate directly, can only act in support of Ukraine and has no diplomatic channel. obvious way out of the conflict.
The alliance now knows that its long-term vision must go beyond its geopolitical moorings and the Indo-Pacific – where an ever-assertive China centers and that’s where Albanese comes in, as it attempts to balance Australia’s role in Asia and the ongoing attraction. historical ties with Britain, Europe and North America.
Albanese’s election has been met with much positivity across Europe and, mainly thanks to Labor’s bolder climate pledges, the new leader is attracting a lot of goodwill. It is here that the new Prime Minister can find common ground with British Conservative leader Boris Johnson, whose government fears that Albanese is not as committed to relations between the two nations as his predecessor.
But no European capital could be happier with its election than Paris. Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Foreign Secretary Marise Payne misjudged and mismanaged Australia’s relationship with France, and through Paris with the wider European Union.
Resetting the relationship with France in the talks with Macron will also be an opportunity to strengthen Franco-Australian cooperation in the Pacific.
An $850 million “fair and just settlement” to end a decade-old, multi-billion dollar submarine contract is a good start, but re-establishing the relationship from a position of trust will likely be the key. most important contribution that Albanese can make. Because he will have to conduct a difficult business.
Australia desperately needs Macron to pledge to help broker an EU-Australia trade deal.
Fifteen European Union governments have called on the bloc to speed up the conclusion of free trade agreements to ensure its long-term economic growth and geopolitical position in the world.
France, which holds the rotating EU presidency for six months, halted moves to strike trade deals so as not to disrupt presidential and legislative elections. And now, for Macron domestically, the resurgence of political forces to the left and right of French politics poses a real threat to impose their protectionist will on trade policy across Europe.
With the decline of trade relations with China, Australia must win new markets. A deal with the EU has the potential to open up a market for Australian goods and services of nearly 450 million people and a GDP of around US$15 trillion. As a bloc, the EU is Australia’s second largest trading partner.
Albanese must also convince Macron that standing up to China is in Europe’s best interests.
The French leader was skeptical of NATO’s role in pivoting to China as part of his 10-year anniversary, suggesting that focusing on the Asian giant could be a distraction with threats closer to home.
But NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg has made it clear that the North Atlantic alliance has no choice but to be wary of China’s growing power.
“The fact that they are investing heavily in new modern military equipment, including significantly increasing their nuclear capabilities, investing in key technologies and also trying to control critical infrastructure in Europe moving closer to us, makes it important for us as well to address this issue,” he said last week.
Australia had to convince Britain of China’s challenge and Albanese is now responsible for the task of Australia and many other countries in managing Beijing’s power.
While his instinct will be to look to his backyard, he must remember that Europe’s strong historical ties can play a major role.
Australia has long believed that its main risks and responsibilities lie in the Indo-Pacific, but as Stoltenberg points out, security threats are no longer limited by distances, conflict zones or borders.
Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, opinion and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.