Delegation of the European Union to Thailand

Celebrating Europe Day: Two virtual events highlight the vital and strengthening EU-ASEAN partnership

Jakarta, 07/05/2020 - 16:55, UNIQUE ID: 200507_13
Press releases

Today (8/5), the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), H.E. Igor Driesmans, launched the EU-ASEAN Blue Book 2020.

Celebrating Europe Day: Two virtual events highlight the vital and strengthening EU-ASEAN partnership


Today (8 May 2020), the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), H.E. Igor Driesmans, launched the EU-ASEAN Blue Book 2020, the EU’s annual publication on cooperation with ASEAN, in a virtual online event. The event was part of the EU’s Europe Day celebrations.

Representing the world’s two most advanced regional blocs, this year’s Blue Book theme, “Natural Partners”, reflects the strengthening relationship between the EU and ASEAN. With a partnership that spans more than 40 years, the EU and ASEAN are committed to addressing global challenges together, including the current health crisis, climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the protection of the environment while maintaining sustainable economic growth.

EU Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Igor Driesmans stated: “On Europe Day, we celebrate the achievements of our regional cooperation in the EU and with our partners. I am happy that despite the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in today, we can celebrate this day together with our partners in ASEAN in a virtual setting. Joining forces is more important than ever to address the global challenges we face. We are looking forward to continue our dialogues with ASEAN and to strengthen our cooperation in line with the European Green Deal, to support sustainable development, and address the current coronavirus pandemic in the region.”

In recent weeks, the EU has mobilised €350 million to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in the ASEAN region. The funds will support actions at country and regional level to address the immediate health crisis, strengthen health systems, and alleviate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

Since 2014, the EU has supported ASEAN regional integration with over €200 million addressing cross-cutting issues such as climate change mitigation, the environment and gender equality, and dedicated more than €2 billion for bilateral cooperation with individual ASEAN Member States. This is in addition to assistance provided by EU Member States to ASEAN and its Member States.

Recent highlights of EU-ASEAN cooperation include:

  • The first EU-ASEAN High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change reaffirmed both sides’ commitment to explore new joint initiatives on environment and climate change.
  • The launch of the Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (SUPA) programme, to tackle the root causes of peatland fires and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.
  • The third EU-ASEAN Dialogue on Human Rights declared both sides’ continued commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • The launch of the EU Support to the AHA Centre to enhance ASEAN’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • The second ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Sustainable Development reinforced both regions’ commitments to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The launch of new initiatives in line with the European Green Deal, supporting sustainable investments (through the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility), and dialogues on sustainable consumption and production (in partnership with the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue).
  • A new programme this year will support sustainable urbanisation (Smart Green ASEAN Cities).

In addition to the programmes, three EU flagship initiatives continue to strengthen EU-ASEAN dialogue (E-READI), regional economic integration (ARISE+), and harmonisation of higher education in the ASEAN region (EU SHARE). Activities implemented throughout last year supported diverse areas such as the digital economy, regional trademark registration, a circular economy for plastics, and the ASEAN Higher Education Vision 2025.

Along with the virtual launch of the Blue Book and an associated website, the EU Ambassador to ASEAN will also be hosting a virtual discussion with ASEAN youth on EU-ASEAN relations on 9 May, as part of the Europe Day celebrations.

“We hope that the creation of our new ‘EU in ASEAN’ website allows everyone across the ASEAN region to easily access information on EU-ASEAN cooperation and the strengthening partnership between the EU and ASEAN,” said Ambassador Driesmans.

The EU-ASEAN Blue Book can be downloaded from this new website:

Everyone across the entire ASEAN region is invited to join Ambassador Driesmans for the online discussion on Saturday, 9 May at 10am (Jakarta, Bangkok and Hanoi time). Please visit for further details, to register to attend, and to ask the Ambassador a question.