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EU-ASEAN: 30 Years Of An Ever Closer Relationship


EU-ASEAN: Celebrating 30 years of an ever closer relationship

EU and ASEAN Heads of States and Governments will gather tomorrow in Singapore to celebrate thirty years of formal EU-ASEAN relations. At the Summit, leaders will endorse the EU-ASEAN Plan of Action which implements the Nuremberg Declaration on an Enhanced EU-ASEAN Partnership.

The Action Plan lays the basis for an ever closer relationship between the EU and ASEAN in all areas of mutual interests by cooperating on political and security issues, economics, development, energy security, climate change/environment as well as socio-cultural affairs.

It will also further support the regional integration within ASEAN following the agreement by ASEAN member countries on the ASEAN Charter.

President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, underlined the importance of the EU-ASEAN relationship: "I very much welcome a closer cooperation between the EU and ASEAN and within ASEAN. ASEAN is the EU's fifth largest trading partner. ASEAN is also playing a key role for addressing global challenges such as climate change, energy security or poverty reduction."

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said:" The EU has been a longstanding partner for ASEAN, and we will continue to cooperate closely in the future. Therefore we have already committed more than € 1 billion for bilateral and regional development programmes for the next seven years, and I am looking forward to an ever growing relationship with ASEAN."

Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson added:" "The EU and ASEAN countries grasped an important opportunity in May of this year by launching negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. I have come here to urge ASEAN Ministers to remain fully committed to a far-reaching and comprehensive agenda for the negotiations. The coming months will be crucial to see if the EU and ASEAN countries share the same level of ambition. The benefits on offer are considerable."

In the last thirty years, the EU has supported ASEAN integration with around €250 million, in addition to bilateral cooperation with individual ASEAN members. Areas of cooperation cover a broad spectrum ranging from energy, higher education, institutional development and capacity building.

In the next seven years (2007-2013), around €1.3 billion have been committed for development cooperation with individual ASEAM Member countries and ASEAN, notably to support the creation of the ASEAN single market by 2015 and increased dialogue in areas like climate change, energy and employment. This will directly contribute in reducing the development gap within ASEAN.

In 2004 the total stock of EU investment in ASEAN was three times that in China and seven times that in India. Today, ASEAN is the EU´s fifth largest overall trading partner. Earlier this year, the EU and countries of ASEAN also launched negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement.

In Singapore ASEAN Member countries will also sign the new ASEAN Charter which will strengthen ASEAN institutions and its internal functioning. The ASEAN Charter will lay the basis for the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

EU-ASEAN relations had been established in 1977 followed by a Cooperation Agreement in 1980. Since 2004, the EU is further upgrading its economic and political relationship by negotiating Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with individual ASEAN countries which are based on the respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law and which cover the whole array of bilateral, regional and international subject-matters.

In 2006 the EU further applied to become member of the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

ENDS

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