Delegation of the European Union
to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam

Speech by H.E. Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia, at the Public Dialogue "Advancing EU-Indonesia Security and Defence Partnership"

Jakarta, 30/11/2018 - 08:30, UNIQUE ID: 181130_1
Speeches of the Ambassador

Speech by H.E. Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia, at the Public Dialogue "Advancing EU-Indonesia Security and Defence Partnership"

Public Dialogue


Jakarta, 30 November 2018


Opening Remarks

H.E. Vincent Guérend

Ambassador of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam



Dear Dr Medelina K. Hendytio, Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),

Dear Ambassadors, Generals, Admirals, Colleagues and friends,


Ladies and gentlemen,

Great pleasure to be here today, at CSIS. A prestigious, enlightened and thought provoking institution which deserves well its reputation of excellence in Indonesia, in the ASEAN region and beyond.

Great pleasure to be here also as this Friday is not only the end of a busy week or a busy month and almost the end of a busy year but today marks the end of an extremely rich and productive series of event which started on Monday with the 4th EU-ASEAN seminar on security and defence, in Jakarta, the 3rd EU-Indonesia security dialogue and the EU-Indonesia political dialogue.

Not just a coincidence to have these meetings now. On 1st Jan, we will be glad to see Indonesia seating at the Security Council and we absolutely need to close ranks, while we see too many cracks in too many multilateral fora, Paris agreement and COP, UN consensus on Middle and Peace Process and JCPOA.

Just one month ago, Mr Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary-General of the EU's Foreign Service, was in this very room at CSIS to engage on the theme of connectivity between Europe and Asia; "long distances but short links ".

The theme that gathers us today – security – is a perfect illustration of our connectivity. The European Union and Indonesia share by large the same security challenges and threats, with distances and borders providing just an illusion of protection.

Take maritime security: ninety percent of international trade is maritime, and two thirds of the world’s maritime trade passes through Asian whilst 42% of the value of seaborne trade is managed by EU ship-owners, 3 of the 5 largest container shipping line are European, Maersk, MSC, CMA-CMG. The EU is the first trade actor in the world and the first provider and recipient of FDI. The EU is the first provider of FDI in ASEAN. One could imagine that the EU wants to impose its rule as it used to do for centuries. No, we have learned the hard way, throughout the mistakes made in the XIXth and XXth centuries that a rules based approach, though cooperation, is much more effective and less costly than aggression, domination, and oppression.

It's no surprise that the European Union wants to promote rules-based good governance also at sea, freedom of navigation, and respect for international law and mechanisms to settle any disputes.

Take piracy and freedom of navigation. The EU set up a multinational maritime mission under UN mandate to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden, operation Atalanta 10 years ago. This mission is very successful (you will know more today) up to a point where piracy has almost ceased in this region and in addition, good learning ground for military cooperation and interoperability of forces. We are glad that the Indonesian Navy is showing interest. Several European Navies also let their vessels cruise through the South China Sea in order to make clear that freedom of navigation in international waters is a fundamemental principle which must be respected. 

Take terrorism and radicalisation: addressing Foreign Terrorist Fighters and home-grown radicalisation as well as terrorist content online feature high on the agenda of the European Union, Indonesia and many other countries of the region.

And we could multiply the examples of common security challenges that affect us regardless of distances: cyber and hybrid threats, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear risks and accidents. Just remember the avian flu when the sneezing of one man in Hong Kong on one particular day was followed with hospitalisations in Europe less than two days after!

As many of you would know in this room, by many of you may don't know or not remember, the EU has adopted a "global strategy" in June 2016. Long due after the 2003 security strategy.  Very important document I encourage you to read, notably page 38 where it says that the EU intends to reinforce its dialogue, - notably on security issues – with three Asian countries, Japan, Republic of Korea and Indonesia.

The EU Global Strategy of 2016 makes clear the connection between European prosperity and Asian peace and stability.

Some may say: Why is the EU interested in Asia's security? What does the EU bring to the table? Where are EU's assets?

The answer to the first question is easy.  We China is our  2nd trade partner (after the USA), ASEAN our 3rd. Our prosperity is closely depending on Asia. The prosperity and security in Asia has a direct link on our ow prosperity and security. This is well reflected in the Global strategy and in the May 2018 EU Foreign Ministers conclusion, where EU Foreign Ministers have committed the EU to scale up its security engagement in and with Asia.  And in June, they called for the development of a more strategic approach for EU partnerships on security and defence with partner countries.

The answer to the second question is also pretty straight forward. What do we bring to the table? Values we share with Indonesia. Respect for international law, support of multilateralism, appetite for consensus and compromise. Experience of conflict resolution. The EU has surely some good experience to draw on: it helped broker and implement peace deals in Aceh and Mindanao; it provides the lion’s share of funding for reconstruction and development of police forces in Afghanistan and Myanmar; it complements UN sanctions against DPRK's nuclear and WMD programmes.

The answer to the third question is also more and more obvious. We bring more and more assets, and these assets are growing.

I mention again the ATALANTA and EUCAP Nestor missions where we cooperate with Asian countries in the Indian Ocean – my colleague H.E. Kim Chang-Beom, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, will certainly tell us more about this!

We are building up these assets: EU battle groups, EU permanent structure of cooperation (PESCO), European intervention initiative, EU Civil protection assets, FRONTEX. The EU CSDP has made more progress in the last three years than in the decade before!

Indonesia and the European Union have thus a lot to discuss and engage on, which we did yesterday at the official annual IDN-EU Security Dialogue, reviewing the progress of our cooperation on a large scope of security issues, from peacekeeping to disaster management, or from organised crime to nuclear proliferation.

I am extremely happy that, today, we are able to continue this engagement in a public format, bringing think tanks, academics, diplomats and journalists into the discussion.

Two excellent panels have been gathered, with distinguished speakers from Indonesia, EU, Korea, UN and ICRC to discuss:

i) multinational responses to security challenges, and

ii) evolving challenges of modern peacekeeping and crisis management from an education and training perspective.

I look forward to these exchanges and the recommendations that the EU and Indonesia can take from this discussion for their growing cooperation on security and defence.

Let me heartily thank CSIS and its executive Director, Philips Vermonte, as well as all moderators and speakers for their invaluable contribution to today's public dialogue, and wish you all a most fruitful seminar.

Terima kasih banyak.



Editorial Sections: