This op-ed article was published in Bisnis Indonesia
EU-Indonesia: deepening and enhancing our connectivity
By Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport
During my visit to Indonesia, 26-29 September, I will have one clear objective: further enhancing and deepening our connectivity with Indonesia, ASEAN and the wider region.
Firstly, I will have the pleasure to participate in the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) Transport Minister meeting in Bali. I am very pleased that Indonesia, the fourth most populous country and the world’s largest archipelago and therefore a key player in connectivity issues is hosting this meeting. Why is the meeting so important? Quite simply because we need global solutions to global challenges. And in a world in which some question the value of international cooperation, like-minded actors must take the baton forward together and provide that leadership.
ASEM’s 53 partners bring together 60% of global trade, 60% of global GDP and 60% of global population. This is certainly multilateral cooperation on a large scale! And it is vital for transport. Many ASEM countries are pursuing very ambitious “connectivity” visions. It is essential that we coordinate well our efforts. Indeed, our success will depend on the respect of three broad principles. We must embrace "inclusiveness" to ensure that all countries benefit from these new routes for their economic development. Second - "reciprocity" is key in terms of market access, sharing know-how, respect for rules and a level-playing field. And finally – "Sustainability" is a must in order to promote economically, socially and environmentally sound projects. If transport is to grow, we must honour the Paris agreement so that emissions from our transport systems become part of the solution rather than being much of the problem.
The EU and ASEAN are not just key players in ASEM, but also bilaterally together showing global leadership. We are currently negotiating a comprehensive air transport agreement (CATA) which will be the first such block-to-block accord that will substantially deepen our aviation links. We are also working closely together on aviation safety while showing leadership in international fora on both cutting aviation and maritime emissions. In our Bali meeting, we shall endorse the launch of an EU-ASEAN Transport Dialogue that further enhances our cooperation on all transport modes.
Under the leadership of President Joko Widodo, Indonesia has been pursuing the vision of sea centred Indonesia: the Global Maritime Fulcrum. This has to be the way forward for a country representing over 17,000 islands spanning wider than the Atlantic ocean. The EU is surrounded by two oceans, four seas and through its outermost regions, also present in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. EU shipping lines ensure 60 per cent of the world’s container traffic. But oceans and seas should not and cannot be managed without cooperation. The EU takes its responsibility in securing international routes, as we can see with the naval operation ATALANTA in the Indian Ocean. The EU is also determined to work closely with key partners such as Indonesia. During my visit to Jakarta, not only will I have the pleasure of meeting Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan, but we will also seek to work together on enhancing maritime safety. I am also looking forward to hosting a business conference on Sustainable Innovative Transport Solutions. I know in Jakarta many of you are looking forward to the completion of the MRT! In Europe we are implementing advanced sustainable transportation solutions for cities, embracing Intelligent Transport Systems, digitalisation and clean public transport. The EU is also the leader in road safety. We have much to share and many areas in which to deepen cooperation. I will also take part in a panel discussion on the role of women in the Transport Sector along with inspiring Indonesian businesswomen.
When it comes to transport and connectivity we certainly live in exciting times! By 2030, it is expected that 60% of us will live in urban areas. Air traffic is projected to grow to 7.2 billion passengers in 2035; a near doubling of last year’s 3.8 billion air travellers. There are estimations that the world needs to invest an average of $3.3 trillion in infrastructure, much of it for transport needs, just to support currently expected rates of growth. The so-called “disruptive” technologies (e.g. automated vehicles and drones) will revolutionise the manner in which we travel but will also bring many challenges. The EU is determined to work with others to find sustainable connectivity solutions. I very much welcome working particularly closely with ASEM, ASEAN and of course Indonesia!