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NCRE, Select Committee Form Historic Relationship

NCRE, Select Committee Form Historic Relationship

19 August 2004

Following a highly successful meeting between National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) and New Zealand Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, the two parties have agreed to establish a continuing working relationship.

Chairman Peter Dunne said during the meeting that the Foreign Affairs Select Committee may consider initiating a parliamentary inquiry into the NZ-EU policy agenda.

NCRE Director, Professor Martin Holland, initiated the meeting to challenge New Zealand foreign affairs policy-makers to focus on the new EU25 and the crafting of the nation’s relationship with the EU over the next 5 years.

"The NCRE’s research, diplomatic and academic contacts can help keep the committee current on European developments and inspire new thinking on EU issues in New Zealand."

The 12 August 2004 session is an historic first -- the Select Committee had never before been invited to visit an academic foreign policy research centre. As a result of the meeting, the NCRE will send regular EU policy research briefings to committee members.

The meeting participants also discussed: a.. the EU in the Pacific; b.. revisiting school curriculum in order to increase Europe's visibility in it; c.. specific ways NZ media represents the EU; d.. parallels between EU small countries and NZ; e.. NCRE relations with the main stake holders (MFAT NZ, NZ embassies to the EU, EU Delegation to NZ). Professor Holland’s presentation to the Select Committee is available in full on the NCRE Website: http://www.europe.canterbury.ac.nz/media/Foreign_Affairs_Committee_Present at ion.ppt

University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Roy Sharp summed up the discussion by calling the NCRE at University of Canterbury "the repository of unique expertise on Europe and the EU" in New Zealand. He praised efforts on behalf of the NCRE and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to look for ways of mutually beneficial cooperation.

********

The National Centre for Research on Europe at the University of Canterbury is the only dedicated European research centre in New Zealand. It is a multi-disciplinary Centre of Academic Excellence and Expertise that operates nationally, uniting students and scholars from a wide range of fields to research and study European issues.

The Centre has significant responsibility for the European Union's outreach efforts within New Zealand and the Pacific. Raising a critical awareness of the EU, informing government, the media and public opinion are all equally important aspects of the NCRE's core function.

ENDS

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