Thursday, 10 January 2008

EU balloon launched in Australia

23 of the 27 EU Member States have Embassies or High Commissions in Australia. I was proud to have them with me yesterday when we officially launched the EU hot air balloon, which will fly for the next four years over Canberra and the region. This was a festive event, the coronation of an active year for us and the celebration of a solid relationship between the EU and Australia that will continue to grow in 2008 and beyond.

The new Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU Member States on 13 December. Hungary was the first Member State to ratify the new Lisbon Treaty this week opening the way toward the final ratification by all the Member States by the end of 2008 and the effective application of the new Treaty in 2009. This will boost the efficiency of the European Union and it is a stepping stone towards further political integration to the benefit of the EU, as well as to the EU’s relations with our close partners and allies, Australia being among them. This year finishes for us with a note of optimism and progress and the balloon flying over our heads in Canberra almost every day certainly reinforces this feeling.

Written 20 December 2007

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