European Union and Singapore build on deepening cooperation to address new challenges
The 8th Senior Officials’ Meeting between the European Union (EU) and Singapore was held on 25 February 2021.
Singapore has become an increasingly important partner for the EU in South-East Asia, with a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and Investment Promotion Agreement (IPA) concluded, and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) having been implemented for more than a year. Singapore has also played an important role as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) coordinator for relations with the EU since 2018.
Officials discussed possibilities for greater cooperation in the security, regulatory, digital and economic fields. Collaboration on global issues of common concern, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, such as climate action, sustainable development and green recovery were also thoroughly addressed. In this context officials shared their assessments of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the path towards recovery and emphasised the importance of international cooperation and vaccine multilateralism, notably via COVAX through which both Singapore and the EU are contributing to assist the most vulnerable countries.
Officials shared their perspectives on relations with key partners. The EU expressed its support for ASEAN-led regional processes to promote a rules-based regional and international order, including in the South China Sea. Officials also discussed options to build on the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership by advancing cooperation between the two blocs in the economic, aviation and connectivity fields.
The EU underlined its willingness to work with Singapore, also in the ASEAN framework, regarding the situation in Myanmar and to ensure a return to its democratic path, as set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 22 February 2021.
The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service and Mr Ng Teck Hean, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.