25 October 2021

Caroline Millar to carry Australia's banner in Brussels

| Ian Bushnell
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Caroline Millar

Caroline Millar’s post comes at a crucial time in the Australia-EU relationship. Photo: National Security College.

A senior official in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet with a strong security background has been appointed Australia’s next Ambassador to Belgium, which also covers the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Luxembourg.

Caroline Millar is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and was most recently Deputy Secretary National Security and International Policy, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Quad Sherpa.

She has served overseas as Chargé d’Affaires in Brussels, Deputy Head of Mission in Washington and Ambassador and Permanent Representative and Ambassador for Disarmament at the United Nations, Geneva.

At DFAT, Ms Millar was appointed Deputy Secretary International Security, Humanitarian and Consular Group, spearheaded Australia’s successful election campaign to the United Nations Security Council in 2012 and served in a number of senior multilateral, legal and international security positions including as Ambassador for People Smuggling.

Her appointment comes as Australia attempts to pivot to a new position on climate change ahead of the Glasgow summit, negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU in the wake of the controversial scrapping of the submarines deal with France and amid rising tensions with China.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that Australia and the EU had a strong strategic and economic relationship.

“Australia and the EU cooperated closely on a broad range of international issues,” she said.

“We work together in the Indo-Pacific to promote an open, inclusive and resilient region.

“The EU is Australia’s second largest two-way trading partner and second largest source of foreign investment. Australia is committed to concluding a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU.”

Ms Payne said Australia’s relationships with Belgium, the EU, NATO and Luxembourg were founded on a shared commitment to democracy, human rights and the global rules-based order.

“Australia’s close people-to-people links with Belgium build on the legacy of those Australians who fought and died in Flanders fields during the First World War,” she said.

“We advance common goals on peace and security issues and enjoy productive economic links.”

She said Luxembourg was an important partner for Australia on multilateral issues and welcomed its investment in Australia and ongoing negotiations on a bilateral tax treaty.

Ms Payne said Australia’s cooperation with NATO demonstrated a shared commitment to work together in an increasingly complex and contested security environment, including in the Indo-Pacific.

Ms Millar replaces Justin Brown who was posted to Brussels in 2018.

Her appointment was one of three new envoys announced.

DFAT career officers Dr Genevieve Clune and Fiona McKergowis will be Australia’s next Ambassador to Estonia and High Commissioner to Cyprus respectively.

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