EU, ASEAN Agree To Upgrade Relations To Strategic Partnership
The foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) and their counterparts
from ASEAN agreed at their ministerial meeting on 21 January to upgrade
their relation to a strategic partnership.
“Today, we agreed in principle to upgrade our relation to a strategic
partnership. It is a recognition of the strategic partnership we already
have in many fields. It is an important signal showing that the two most
advanced and most successful integration processes in the world stand
firmly behind multilateralism and a rule-based global order,” Federica
Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
said in a statement.
The EU and ASEAN foreign ministers reiterated their commitment to boost
cooperation between the two regional blocks in all areas of mutual
interest. The ministerial meeting held talks on how to advance
cooperation, including on fair and open trade, digital economy,
connectivity, sustainable development, cybersecurity, the circular
economy, smart cities, energy security, and renewable energy.
“We reaffirm the strategic importance of the economic partnership
between ASEAN and the EU, with an aim to increase and strengthen two-
way trade and investment flows between our two regions. We reaffirm our
commitment to a future EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and to intensify
work towards this end, and in this regard we note the progress made by
the Joint Working Group in developing a framework setting out the
parameters of such an agreement,” the EU and ASEAN foreign ministers
said in a joint statement after the meeting.
The ministers also reaffirmed their strong support for keeping and
strengthening an open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, rules-based
multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its
core, and the need to address barriers to international trade.