Trade talks with EU on the cards: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expects free trade negotiations with the European Union to kick off in the near future.

There are hopes Australia and the European Union could begin negotiations on a free trade deal by year's end.

The scope of a future trade pact was agreed on in April but now the EU's remaining 27 member countries, without the exiting Britian, must give approval to fire the starter's gun on talks.

"The strength of the Australia-EU relationship is such that we are now anticipating entering formal negotiations for a free trade agreement," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told a reception to mark Europe Day, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra on Wednesday night.

A trade deal would build on a framework agreement which Ms Bishop will sign later this year with her counterpart Federica Mogherini, she said.

"In an era where economic nationalism and forms of protectionism are seeping into national debates and narratives, it's important we remind our citizens of the benefits of globalisation," Ms Bishop said.

The EU is Australia's second largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment.

In 2015-16, two-way trade was worth $95.6 billion and total investment stock from the EU was almost $1 trillion.

Both sides have quietly breathed a sigh of relief after centralist Emmanuel Macron was elected French President this week over far right nationalist Marine Le Pen who had a protectionist platform.

EU Ambassador to Australia Sem Fabrizi reflected on the EU's 60 year history and said that it has not all been plain sailing with the "recent outbreak of populism and nationalism" which created challenges.

He said Australia and the EU will reach an "emerald" 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

"We are a good, wise, strong couple," he said.

AAP understands trade negotiations could start by the end of the year depending on whether there are any road blocks from European Parliaments.

The EU's trade deal with Canada was briefly held up last year when a Belgian regional parliament initially refused to sign off.

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