Tag Archives: Australia

Australia to reopen Christmas Island for migrants

Australia will reopen a controversial detention center for asylum seekers on Christmas Island, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after the defeat in parliament.

The opposition Labor party and independents voted to amend strict immigration laws to give medics the right to transfer some 1,000 men and woman from two Pacific detention centers if they need  treatment.

 

The amendment, approved by the Senate on January 13 dealt a blow to the ruling conservative coalition which is trailing heavily in polls ahead of an election due in May.

The Christmas Island immigration detention camp, south of Jakarta, Indonesia, was a favorite target of people smugglers who brought asylum seekers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East in dinky boats from Indonesian ports before the trade virtually stopped in recent years.

 

 

 

Italy hosts six million tourists for Christmas

More than six million foreign tourists will visit Italy during the Christmas and New year holidays, according to a new survey. The Centro Studi Turistici poll said foreign tourists would mostly vacation in mountain resorts.

Tourists flows will especially rise from Switzerland, the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand, said the poll of 1,613 tourism operators, commissioned by retail group Confesercenti Nazionale.

Meanwhile some 4.4 million Italians are preparing for departure to pass their holidays abroad, the study said.

#Salzburg: May demands realistic approach to Brexit process

EU heads of state or government gather on 19 and 20 September 2018 in #Salzburg, Austria for an informal meeting. The summit is hosted by Sebastian KURZ, Chancellor of Austria, which currently holds the presidency of the Council. The president of the European Council, Donald TUSK, chairs the meeting. He represents the EU together with the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude JUNCKER. According to the announced agenda Brexit talks progress will be discusses at working lunch on the 20th of September. This will be an opportunity to discuss the way forward. The 27 leaders will focus on:

  • the EU-UK future partnership;
  • how to organise the final phase of the talks, including the possibility of calling another summit in November;
  • the need for a legally operational backstop on Ireland;

British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed directly to the EU leaders during Wednesday informal dinner in #Salzburg to drop “unacceptable” Brexit demands that she said could rip Britain apart, urging the 27 bloc to respond in kind to her “serious and workable” plan.

EU aims at free trade with Australia and New Zealand

The Council authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and adopted negotiating directives for each of the negotiations.

Trade agreements with both countries would aim primarily at further reducing existing barriers to trade, removing custom duties on goods, and giving better access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The sectors likely to benefit the most from the FTAs are motor equipment, machinery, chemicals, processed foods and services.

The mandates are particularly concerned to protect vulnerable sectors such as agriculture by maximising the benefits of market opening without harming local producers. The mandates do not envisage full liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, which are foreseen as benefiting from specific treatment.

The mandates provide for a comprehensive and modern framework, based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment, climate and consumer protection.

The Commission presented the draft mandates in September 2017, following successful preparatory discussions which served to define the scope of the future agreements.

The EU already cooperates closely with Australia and New Zealand on economic and trade policy issues in the framework of partnership agreements which were concluded respectively in 2008 and 2017. The EU also has bilateral agreements with both countries on mutual recognition of some technical certificates which, by reducing the costs of testing and certifying of exports and imports, facilitate trade in industrial products. Although generally limited, trade barriers for some sectors, such as agriculture or textile products, remain quite substantial.

Key facts on trade with Australia: The EU is Australia’s third largest trading partner. Annual bilateral trade amounted to more than €47.7 billion in 2017, with a positive trade balance of more than €21 billion on the EU side. EU’s exports to Australia are predominantly manufactured goods while Australia’s exports to the EU are dominated by mineral commodities and agricultural products. EU companies supply commercial services worth nearly €20 billion to Australia and hold investments in the country worth more than €160 billion (in 2016).

Key facts on trade with New Zealand: With annual bilateral trade amounting to more than €8.7 billion in 2017, the EU is New Zealand’s second largest trading partner after Australia. New Zealand’s exports to the EU are largely dominated by agricultural products while EU’s exports to New Zealand are focused on manufactured and industrial goods. For the EU, trade with New Zealand results in a positive trade balance of €1.9 billion (in 2017), and EU companies hold more than €10 billion in foreign direct investment in New Zealand.

Bishop: Customs Union not compatible with free trade deal

Britain and Australia would not be able to negotiate a bilateral trade deal if Britain decides to stay in the European Union’s customs union after Brexit, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Monday (19/02/2018).

Australia for value-based concept of citizenship

In Australia  Turnbull government is tightening the requirements for the citizenship, with applicants to face a stand-alone English test and be asked to commit to embracing ‘Australian values’.

Under the overhaul, would-be citizens will need to have been a permanent resident of Australia for four years, rather than 12 months.

Prospective citizens will also be required to have increased proficiency with the English language – a requirement Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said is “the single best thing any person coming to this country can do”.

“The headline points are these… They’ve lived here for four years as permanent residents, they speak English, share our values and are integrated… This will be good for the applicants, and good for the nation,” Mr Turnbull said today.

“What we’re doing is strengthening our multicultural society and strengthening our commitment to Australian values.”

The prime minister and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton emphasised the focus on the nation’s values as a prime indicator of whether citizenship would be granted.

The current multiple-choice test will possibly include questions about the applicant’s attitudes to female genital mutilation and spousal abuse.

 

Philadelphia: PM May on EU

may-in-phila

“…Nations, accountable to their populations – “deriving” as the Declaration of Independence puts it “their just powers from the consent of the governed” – can choose to join international organisations, or not. They can choose to cooperate with others, or not. Choose to trade with others, or not.

Which is why if the countries of the European Union wish to integrate further, my view is that they should be free to do so. Because that is what they choose.

But Britain – as a sovereign nation with the same values but a different political and cultural history – has chosen to take a different path.

Because our history and culture is profoundly internationalist.

We are a European country – and proud of our shared European heritage – but we are also a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world. We have ties of family, kinship and history to countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and countries across Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean.

And of course, we have ties of kinship, language and culture to these United States too…”

UK PM Theresa May’s speech to Republicans, Philadelphia, 26 January 2017