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France and Australia

Political relations

The bilateral relationship between France and Australia, which dates back to World War I, is based on common interests and values (defending multilateralism and law, the peaceful settlement of disputes).

It saw a major development with the announcement that Naval Group had been chosen to build 12 ocean submarines (a €34 billion contract). This programme led to two intergovernmental treaties and an Enhanced Strategic Partnership was signed by the Foreign Ministers from both countries in Melbourne in March 2017.

In the Pacific, the presence of France and its three communities (New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna) which received Australia’s support for accession as full members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF - the main regional political organization) is today seen as an important part of regional stability in its neighbourhood.

French presence

The French Embassy in Australia serves a French community of almost 100,000 people (only 25,203 of whom are registered on the consular list). Over 100,000 French visitors and tourists travelled to Australia in 2019.

Visits

French visits to Australia

  • November 2019: Visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Melbourne and Adelaide
  • May 2018: Visit by the President of the Republic to Sydney
  • 2014: First French state visit to Canberra

Australian visits to France

  • August 2019: Participation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the G7 in Biarritz
  • July 2016: State visit by the Australian Governor-General and participation of Australian service members in the parade on the Champs Élysées.

Ambassadors

Ambassador of France in Australia: His Excellency Mr Christophe Penot, Twitter: @FranceAustralia
Australian Ambassador in France: His Excellency Mr Brendan Berne, Twitter: @AusAmbFR

Economic relations

Trade and direct investment are an essential part of our strong bilateral relationship. Australia accounts for our 7th largest trade surplus (€1.6 billion in 2019). Over 600 French companies are set up there (employing 70,000 people), including 35 from the CAC 40. Australian investments in France are constantly increasing, and still have great potential.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation is vibrant, as shown by the increase in our scientific and academic exchanges. French scientists based in Australia are organized around the FRAN network (French Researchers in Australia Network) which has over 560 members. French is the third most studied language in Australia (250,000 students, five approved French schools; network of 30 Alliances Françaises). Working holiday visas, for 15-30 year olds, allow over 20,000 young French people to work or live in Australia for a maximum of one year. France is one of Australia’s main cultural partners. Cooperation takes place in partnerships and is largely financed by Australian operators (historic success of the 29th French Film Festival, with almost 185,000 spectators in 2018).

Updated: 19 June 2020