2012 Schuman Lecture: New Alliances: Australia and Europe in a G20 World

See the briefing paper of the text of the Robert Schuman lecture, given by Mr Alastair Walton on 23 May 2012 at the Australian National University.

In an increasingly globalised world, Australia’s long term prosperity relies on its ability to maintain a highly productive, flexible and open economy. Effective relations with the world’s economic powers are therefore paramount. Arguably, the European Union is the world’s leading soft power. In the Schuman Lecture, Mr Walton will substantiate that it is in Australia’s interest to take a whole of government approach to influence European thinking, as well as build Australia’s national brand in Brussels and Europe’s other capitals to better harness and influence the direction of European soft power in support of Australia’s strategic needs.

The efforts of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Ambassador to the EU Brendan Nelson have fundamentally shifted Australia’s approach to Europe and are evolving Europe’s often misguided understanding of the Australian economy. Australia should continue to build on the momentum of this new phase of the relationship by pursuing an ambitious bilateral agenda, including the negotiation of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, commissioning a white paper on Europe’s influence in global affairs - including the various Europe-based multilateral agencies -, the appointment of an Ambassador for Europe, and undertaking a review of financial and operational resources in Australia’s key international agencies, specifically DFAT, Austrade and Ausaid.

Alastair Walton is President and Chairman of the Board of the European Australian Business Council (EABC). He is a career investment banker who is Chairman of BKK Partners, an independent investment bank providing financial and corporate advice to Australian companies and institutions. He is also Chairman of Indochina Gateway Capital Limited which focuses on agri-business investments in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Alastair is a former Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia. He is also a former Chairman of Central Rand Gold Limited, a holding company for a group of companies engaged in gold mining and exploration in Johannesburg, South Africa. CRG has a primary listing on the main board of the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE Securities Exchange.

Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in Australia, Alastair worked with Credit Suisse First Boston for 14 years in Tokyo, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, London, and lastly in Hong Kong as Head of Investment Banking for Non-Japan Asia.He is also a former Director of Film Finance Corporation, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Australian Business Community Network. He has also served as a member of the Australian Financial Services Advisory Council (FSAC), reporting to the Federal Treasurer.

Alastair has a Master of Business Administration from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where he was a Dean's Scholar, a Bachelor of Economics (with specialisation in accounting) from the Australian National University and is a Chartered Accountant.

To view the transcript of the Schuman Lecture - New Alliances: Australia and Europe in a G20 World, please click here.

 

The annual lecture celebrates the remarkable achievements of European integration since its modest beginnings in the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, announced in a declaration by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. The 2012 lecture noted that in an increasingly globalised world, Australia’slong term prosperity relies on its ability to maintain a highly productive, flexible and openeconomy. Effective relations with the world’s economic powers are therefore paramount. Arguably, the European Union is the world’s leading soft power. The lecture substantiated that it is in Australia’s interest to take a whole of government approach to influence European thinking, as well as build Australia’s national brand in Brussels and Europe’s other capitals to better harness and influence the direction of European soft power in support of Australia’s strategic needs. The efforts of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Ambassador to the EU Brendan Nelson have fundamentally shifted Australia’s approach to Europe and are evolving Europe’s often misguided understanding of the Australian economy. Australia should continue to build on the momentum of this new phase of the relationship by pursuing an ambitious bilateral agenda, including the negotiation of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, commissioning a white paper on Europe’s influence in global affairs - including the various Europe-based multilateral agencies, the appointment of an Ambassador for Europe, and undertaking a review of financial and operational resources in Australia’s key international agencies, specifically DFAT, Austrade and Ausaid.

 

Date & time

4.45–6.30pm 23 May 2012

Location

ANU Centre for European Studies, 1 Liversidge Street (Bldg 67C), Canberra

Speakers

Alastair Walton - Chairman of the European Australian Business Council

Updated:  23 November, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications