The European Union (EU) reiterated its strong commitment and interest in further substantiating the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations. This was conveyed by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, H.E. Ms. Federica Mogherini during her meeting with Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh, at the ASEAN Secretariat yesterday.
High Representative Mogherini stated that the EU attaches great importance to its partnership with ASEAN and the EU intends to further enhancing cooperation in priority areas such as combating terrorism and transnational crime, and maritime security.
While pledging the EU’s continued support for ASEAN Community building, High Representative Mogherini said that the EU will build on the strong foundation laid over the past 39 years of relations with ASEAN to further strengthen the partnership.
The EU remains the largest investor in the region and the second largest trading partner of ASEAN. Secretary-General Minh welcomed the EU’s keen interest to further add substance to the relations and to elevate the partnership to a greater height.
He stated that the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations in 2017 will present a favourable opportunity to further advance the forward-looking relationship.
He also reiterated ASEAN’s appreciation to the EU for its financial and technical support to ASEAN, particularly the sharing of its valuable experiences and lessons-learned in the process of European regional integration as well as capacity building for the ASEAN Secretariat.
Secretary-General Minh expressed ASEAN’s condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. He recalled ASEAN’s collective position, condemning the terrorist attacks as reflected in the Joint Statement issued by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.
Both sides emphasised the need to work out ways to move forward the partnership to the strategic phase and explore new areas of cooperation to further strengthen the relations. They shared the view that both ASEAN and EU should further expand cooperation in the political and security field, particularly in promoting peace and stability in the region.
They recognized the potentials on both sides and deliberated on the favourable prospect for the resumption of negotiation on the region-to-region free trade agreement between ASEAN and the EU.
They also acknowledged that the recent establishment of the EU’s dedicated Diplomatic Mission to ASEAN based in Jakarta was the manifestation of the EU’s commitment.
The Mission plays an important role in coordinating with the representatives of the ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. Secretary-General Minh briefed High Representative Mogherini on the establishment of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015, which signals to the rest of the world how far the ASEAN Member States have achieved in coming together as one Community.
It is a historic milestone for the region and a culmination of ASEAN’s resilience and dynamism throughout a journey that spans nearly half a century.