EU strengthens partnership with ASEAN (Philippines News Agency)

The European Union (EU) is strengthening its partnership with the 10 Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, after it adopted the Joint Communication The EU and ASEAN: a partnership with a strategic purpose”.

In a statement on Friday, EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) said the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have adopted the Joint Communication which identified framework for sectoral cooperation which are in line with ABC’s policy priorities.

The EU-ASEAN Business Council welcomes the commitment by the European Union to strengthen its partnership with ASEAN. This is testament to the importance of the ASEAN region as a key driver of the global economy, EU-ABC Executive Director Chris Humphrey said.

ASEAN and Europe are natural partners and are undertaking their own processes of economic integration. Europe is the largest investor into ASEAN, and is the region’s second largest trading partner, he added.

Among the key proposals an commitments under the Joint Communication include:

*working towards EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement;

*exchanging information on connectivity and mobilizing financial means an expertise to ASEAN;

*collaborating on climate change and initiating a new EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on environment and sustainable development;

*increasing EU financial support for ASEAN integration; and

*implementing an extensive package for new initiatives in areas of non-traditional security including maritime security, disaster management and crisis response, transnational crime, training courses on preventive diplomacy, crisis management, mediation, the rule of law, and election observation.

This new commitment will build on the already strong trade and investment relationship. The EU-ABC looks forward to working closely with the European Commission to make the commitments in the Joint Communication a reality,” Humphrey said. (PNA)