Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu participated on Tuesday in the 23rd ministerial meeting of the member states of the European Union and of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), underscoring in his remarks the importance of co-operation between the EU and ASEAN in order to effectively address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Foreign Ministry (MAE), discussions focused on items on the regional and global agenda, a defence of multilateralism, respect for international law and the importance of freedom of trade. The ministerial meeting reconfirmed a consensus on promoting the relationship between the EU and ASEAN to the level of a strategic partnership.
MAE quotes Aurescu as welcoming the decision on promoting the relations between the EU and ASEAN to the level of a strategic partnership based on common interests, values ??and principles. The Romanian top diplomat encouraged the intensification of co-operation between the EU and the ten ASEAN member states in managing common global political, security, economic and climate change challenges, given the interest shown by ASEAN partners in the targets set by the EU in this regard. He also underscored the importance of co-operation between the EU and ASEAN in order to effectively address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aurescu also voiced support for completing the legal framework for bilateral co-operation and highlighted opportunities for economic and trade co-operation between the EU and ASEAN, including under the EU strategy on connecting Europe and Asia, focused on the four priority areas – transport, energy, digitalisation and interpersonal contacts. He also welcomed the adoption of a ministerial declaration on EU-ASEAN co-operation in the field of connectivity, based on the rules and principles of international law, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, environmental protection and sustainable development, with the aim of developing quality infrastructure, diversifying distribution chains and encouraging people-to-people contacts.
The ministerial meeting was co-chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan as country coordinator for ASEAN-EU dialogue relations.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN brings together 10 countries – Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia- with a population of over 650 million and a cumulative GDP in excess of 3,000 billion USD. The EU established political ties with ASEAN in 1977.