Malaysia, an emerging economy of 30.75 million people, plays an important role in the EU's efforts to reach out to the entire world. With its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, Malaysia mirrors European diversity and makes for a good partner on the global stage.
Cooperation in trade and economic issues has been the driving force for closer ties between the EU and Malaysia. The opening of the EU Delegation in 2003 also marked increased and closer cooperation between European and Malaysian federal and state authorities, civil society, and academia.
In October 2010, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and EU leaders launched two major EU-Malaysia bilateral initiatives, namely the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)and for the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). These two initiatives are respectively aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investment and at creating a new strategic dimension for EU-Malaysia political dialogue and economic cooperation. Negotiations for the PCA concluded on 8 December 2015 after 11 rounds of negotiations, whereas FTA negotiations are still in progress.
The EU is also gradually establishing cooperation with Malaysia in areas falling under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) such as maritime security, export control and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) risk. Under the Migration EU Expertise II (MIEUX II) facility, European experts are providing training to Malaysian authorities to effectively manage migration through improved border management practices and procedures, and to curb irregular migration with regards to human rights principles.
The EU and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have enjoyed a close relationship for over 30 years. Both share a commitment to regional integration as a means of fostering regional stability, building prosperity and addressing global challenges. Through numerous programmes, the EU is providing ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat support with a view to raising standards and developing harmonised legislative frameworks and common practices in fields such as customs, disaster prevention and management, higher education, intellectual property rights, safety in civil education and transport. Malaysia also participates in and benefits from several of these projects.