High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell has emphasised that the EU must be more present and engaged in ASEAN, which plays a crucial role in the Indo-Pacific region.
|High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (Photo: AFP)
Jakarta – High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell has emphasised that the EU must be more present and engaged in ASEAN, which plays a crucial role in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Working with ASEAN and deepening our strategic partnership is key to do so," he said in a statement on July 17.
The EU and ASEAN are the two most advanced regional integration organisations in the world. They understand each other at many levels, even if some of the ASEAN members are not like our multi-party democracies. Both organisations stand together in promoting effective multilateralism, free trade, the green and digital transition and connectivity
He said his presence in Jakarta on behalf of the EU at the ASEAN-EU Post Ministerial Meeting (PMC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) provided an opportunity to strengthen our bonds, to profile the EU as a trusted partner, to discuss regional and global developments, and to pursue our political and economic interests,
"In both meetings, I stressed that the EU is committed to ASEAN centrality and aim to step up our cooperation in ASEAN-centred fora. We might be geographically distant but Europe is economically interdependent with the Indo-Pacific and we have a direct stake in each other’s security," he noted.
Borrell affirmed that the central role of ASEAN should not be underestimated. The EU should support this role when it becomes a reliable participant in this global structure.
Over the past years, the EU-ASEAN relations have achieved positive results, such as the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA), and the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership for 2023-2-27. Notably, the EU-ASEAN High-Level Commemorative Summit held in Brussels in December 2022 reinforced the growing political momentum in the EU-ASEAN strategic partnership.
|Upgrade for ASEAN’s trade backbone set
An upgraded agreement on trade in goods within ASEAN is expected to help boost intra-bloc trade and investment, with Vietnam set to be a big beneficiary.
|ASEAN’s deal with Australia and New Zealand sees added benefit
Vietnam will enjoy more advantages when expanding its trade and investment cooperation with Australia and New Zealand through amendments to a multilateral free trade deal between ASEAN and these two nations.