ASEAN and the EU hold talks on Maritime Cooperation (18/11/2013)

Jakarta, 18 November 2013
Ref: D(2013)1468EN

Press Release

ASEAN and the EU hold talks on Maritime Cooperation

Policy makers and stakeholders from ASEAN and the European Union (EU) meet in Jakarta today (18/11) with the aim of sharing experiences on maritime cooperation within their respective regions.

Officiating at the opening of this “ASEAN-EU High Level Dialogue on Maritime Cooperation” were H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, Mr Ugo Astuto, Director for South and Southeast Asia of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Mr Jose Antonio Morato Tavares, Director for ASEAN Political and Security Cooperation of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of H.E. Amb. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Director General for ASEAN Cooperation of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Ugo Astuto in his opening speech stated: "The EU attaches great importance to this event: a unique occasion for EU and ASEAN to exchange experiences and lessons learned on the various aspects of maritime cooperation. We see today's High Level Dialogue not as a one-off event but very much as the launch pad for a new work-strand in EU-ASEAN cooperation".

Mr Astuto also concurs the ASEAN Secretary General’s statement that maritime security is a complex challenge. “We need to blend the economic, security, legal and environmental aspects. It involves many actors: public and private, civilian and military, local, national and regional. It is therefore fitting that today we are bringing people together people with such a wide range of backgrounds,” said Mr Astuto.

Maritime cooperation is not only a huge but also a common challenge, for both ASEAN and EU.

For ASEAN, the importance of maritime cooperation is underlined by the fact that almost 80% of the region is made up of the marine domain, a majority of ASEAN member-states share maritime borders with one another, and the region is home to some of the most busiest and strategically crucial sea lanes in the world.

For the EU, maritime cooperation is driven by the recognition of the European continent as a maritime continent with almost 70,000 km of coastline, surrounded by crucial maritime domains such as the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and North Sea among others, and where 40% of its GDP is generated from the maritime regions.

While these underlining driving factors provide enormous benefits and opportunities for the two regions, they can also pose significant sources of threats, disputes and challenges if not properly and adequately managed. These include illegal and unregulated fishing, trafficking in persons, weapons smuggling, piracy and armed robbery, acts of terrorism, marine pollution, unsustainable development of coastal communities, and biodiversity loss among others.
Participating in the High Level Dialogue were representatives from various state institutions of the ASEAN Member States (foreign affairs, defense, fisheries, maritime and transportation ministries; the navy and port authorities) and Indonesian officials from the Presidential Office and Vice Presidential Office, as well as representatives from the EU.

The two-day event is organised by the EU and ASEAN, in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with the support of the Habibie Center and the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI), an EU-ASEAN cooperation project.