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Visit to Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Sweden.



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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media Release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

24 January 2001

Visit to Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Sweden

I will travel to Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Sweden from 27 January to 2 February.  My visit to Europe will enable me to reinforce Australia’s strong Asia-Pacific regional credentials; to advance Australian interests through strengthened bilateral linkages; and to discuss a range of bilateral, multilateral and regional matters with the new European Union presidency held by Sweden.

From 27-29 January, I will attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.  Davos presents an unparalleled opportunity to promote Australia’s economic strength in the ever more competitive global environment and to build on the successes of the recent WEF Asia-Pacific Economic Summit in Melbourne and the Sydney Olympic Games. I will contribute to a session on security in the Asia Pacific region, and also hold bilateral meetings with other senior government participants.

My visit to Spain on 29-31 January will be my first in an official capacity.  In Madrid I will meet the Foreign Minister Josep Piqué and the Secretary of State for Economy Juan Costa Climent.   Spain has recently announced its intention to expand its engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and I will discuss deepening our bilateral dialogue and cooperation and emphasise the advantages of Australia as a trade and investment partner with sound links in the Asia-Pacific region.

In Denmark on 1 February, I will officially open Australia’s new Embassy in Copenhagen and meet the new Foreign Minister, Mogens Lykketofte, and Finance Minister, Pia Gjellerup.  I will also convey to members of the Danish business community the advantages of Australia as a trade and investment partner in the Asia Pacific.

On 2 February in Stockholm, Sweden, I will meet with Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, in her capacity as representative of the Presidency of the European Union.  The EC Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, will also attend these talks.  Topics will include major developments in our respective regions and I will also take the opportunity to review important elements of Australia’s relations with the European Union, our major trade and investment partner.  I will also register Australian interest in current EU issues, particularly developments in EU defence policy and enlargement.

A meeting with the Swedish Trade Minister, Mr Leif Pagrotsky, will focus on furthering commercial linkages between Australia and Sweden. I will attend a reception in Stockholm

celebrating Australia’s Centenary of Federation at which I will also promote the Australian wine industry and tourism and education sectors. I will also address the Swedish Institute of International Affairs on “Europe and the Asia Pacific Region".

For further information: Matt Francis (Ministerial) (02) 6277 7500 Julie McDonald(Departmental) (02) 6261 1555

 FA5

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