"We, Europeans, care about your countries, your people: we have an interest in the security and development of your countries, because these are essential to security and development all over the world"– said High Representative Federica Mogherini opening as a Co-Chair the annual Post-Ministerial Conference between the European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations – ASEAN in Manila.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of mutual dynamic relations, both sides recognized an invaluable opportunity to advance their ongoing dialog by exploring new areas of cooperation in the fields of trade, security and defence, counter-terrorism and climate action.
In order to better tackle global issues of mutual concern, the High Representative and 10 ASEAN Ministers adopted a new EU-ASEAN Plan of Action for 2018-2022. This will strengthen cooperation in the areas of maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping operations. Taking into account new mutually agreed priorities, the EU and ASEAN decided to prepare the next generation of ASEAN-EU Work Plan to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime. "We are making our European Union stronger in the field of security and defence, and, second, we are making our partnership with ASEAN even closer and more operational" – emphasized Mogherini.
The importance of economic partnership remained high on the agenda of the meeting. High Representative Mogherini and ASEAN Ministers committed to intensify work towards the conclusion of ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement - the first ever region to region agreement. Underling the importance of working together with all stakeholders to combat climate change and its consequences, the EU and ASEAN reaffirmed their full commitment to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement consistent with the broader outcomes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Following the Post-Ministerial Conference, the High Representative met with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Kang Kyung-wha, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Thailand, Don Pramudwinai and the Foreign Minister of Vietnam, Pham Binh Minh.