This year marks a special milestone for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as it is celebrating its Golden Jubilee on 8 August 2017 and its 40th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations with the European Union (EU).
Fifty years ago, the then five Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand signed in Bangkok a document declaring the establishment of ASEAN, a regional architecture with an aim to accelerate economic growth, enhance social and cultural development, as well as to promote peace and stability. The historic Bangkok Declaration becomes a foundation for a strong and stable region as it is today. ASEAN has now flourished into the third largest economy in Asia, the seventh in the world, and has a combined GDP of US$2.6 trillion. Its membership has also been expanded to 10, with Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
ASEAN established dialogue relations with the EU in 1977. An important milestone in the ASEAN-EU dialogue relations was marked in 2007 with the adoption of the Nuremberg Declaration on ASEAN – EU Enhanced Partnership which sets out long-term vision and commitment of both sides to work together for common goals and objectives in the future. In 2012, a Plan of Action to Strengthen ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership 2013-2017 was adopted to give a more strategic focus to cooperation in a wide range of areas – political, security, economic, trade and socio-cultural. This year, the Plan of Action will be renewed for the period of 2018-2022, for a more comprehensive and robust cooperation between the two regions.
The Bucharest ASEAN Committee (BAC) has convened various programmes and activities in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN in collaboration with the Romanian Institute for Euro-Asian Studies (IRSEA), the Romanian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCIR), Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), Romanian Television (TVR) and the Education, Society, Culture and Humanitarian Association (ESCU). A special documentary on ASEAN was broadcast by TVR on 7 August 2017. In September, the ASEAN Movie Festival will take place in conjunction with the “Festivalul Ambasadelor” at the Bucharest National Theatre.
This year’s special celebration on ASEAN will be held at the Embassy of the Republic Indonesia which located at Strada Gina Patrichi 10. The ASEAN Embassies will share their authentic culture, delicacies, traditional clothes, and performances. It will be attended by H.E. Mrs. Monica Georghita, State Secretary for Global Affairs as the Guest of Honor.
ASEAN today is the result of many efforts done by various collaborators, whether they are states, organizations, or individuals. This signals that ASEAN and its partners need to keep pushing forward to materialize new and more ambitious goals. The new ASEAN-EU Plan of Action will serve as a vehicle to strengthen the friendly relations as well as to further promote the cooperation between the two groupings for the benefits of their peoples. ASEAN and partners will look to the next 50 years with greater hope and confidence.