PM says EU trade talks stalled over perception of Australia as ‘handbrake’ on climate action

Negotiations for a “critical” trade deal with the EU have stalled over perceptions Australia isn’t “fair dinkum” on climate change action and due to a fractured relationship with France, Anthony Albanese dicho.

The prime minister met with his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, on Tuesday in Madrid before the Nato summit, marking the first bilateral visit by an Australian prime minister.

Albanese said the “very warm and productive meeting” lasted for more than a hour, but discussions about a trade relationship “essentially stalled”.

“It was clear that there were two impediments," él dijo. “One was the Australian relationship with France and the breakdown that had occurred in recent times given France’s leadership role in Europa.

“The second was Australia’s position on climate change, where the perception by Europe and indeed by the world, [estaba] that Australia was a handbrake on global action.

“Australia just wasn’t seen as being fair dinkum about taking action on climate change.”

Albanese said the perception had hindered Australia’s capacity to enter into economic relationships with European countries.

“The EU trade deal is critical," él dijo.

Albanese said he hoped to see an “acceleration” in progress over the coming months, with a number of European trade ministers due to visit Canberra for discussions.

Later this week, he will visit Paris at the invitation of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in an effort to repair the relationship, after Australia dumped a $90bn submarine deal with Naval Group.

Australia was invited to participate in the Nato summit alongside New Zealand, Japan and South Korea as part of the “Asia-Pacific Four”.

Although Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will dominate Nato discussions, the “challenge” of China will also be addressed.

Albanese said the world’s democracies had been united through a “common sense of purpose” by Russia’s aggression and disregard for international law.

“Those nations that are prepared to stand up for democratic values, for human rights, for respect of the sovereignty of nations, will continue to stand up for those values and those rights," él dijo.

“That is something that is a message to all other countries in the world, whether they be here in Europe or in our own region.”

Albanese will hold a one-on-one meeting with South Korea’s president, Yoon Seok-youl, on Tuesday local time, before he attends the Nato gala dinner with his partner, Jodie Haydon, hosted by the Spanish King and Queen.

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