European Union External Action

EU-ASEAN leaders held high level meeting to enhance cooperation

19/10/2018 - 13:20
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High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, joined ASEAN Leaders in Brussels for wide-ranging discussions on common challenges and on strengthening the important EU-ASEAN relationship. The meeting took place on 19 October, opening the path for the 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in January next year.

Shared values and common interests bind the two regions in a long-standing and unique partnership which continues to evolve to address new fields such as climate change, cybersecurity and combating violent extremism. Both sides exchanged views on some of the most pressing regional and global security challenges.

EU Foreign Ministers had already agreed on enhanced security cooperation with Asia, and in the decision’s aftermath, the EU stressed its support for ASEAN’s role as the driving force promoting dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. ASEAN partners welcomed the interest of the EU in furthering engagement with the region through all ASEAN-led processes.

Separately, the EU will draw on a new strategy on connecting Europe and Asia to improve ties between the two blocs based on openness, transparency and sustainability. In the presence of Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, both sides pledged to conclude an ambitious ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement as soon as possible. They undertook to continue work on the framework setting out the parameters of a future EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, building on the bilateral FTAs between several ASEAN Member States and the EU.

The leaders from both regions also reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as ending all forms of poverty. The mutual commitment to address the shared challenge of climate change, as expressed in the ASEAN-EU Joint Statement on the implementation of the Paris Agreement of August 2017, was also underlined, as the UN’s Katowice Climate Change Conference is about to take place in Poland in December.

The meeting also acknowledged the key role of cooperation in education, encouraging exchanges of students, researchers and academics, cultural exchanges, and enhancing cooperation in science, technology and innovation.

The 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in January 2019 will bring together foreign ministers from the 28 EU and the 10 ASEAN Member States, and should focus on taking the necessary steps to translate this ambitious agenda into practice.