World Economy

Mogherini: EU Wants Broader ASEAN Ties

Mogherini: EU Wants Broader ASEAN TiesMogherini: EU Wants Broader ASEAN Ties

The European Union has expressed interest to further enhance cooperation with ASEAN, saying the relationship could be beyond the economic and trade ties currently established.

“Don’t look at the EU only as an economic or trade partner, but also as a foreign policy and security partner,” said the EU’s foreign policy and security policy chief Federica Mogherini in her opening remarks at the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, Bernama reported.

Mogherini said the European Commission and the 28 member states of the EU had agreed to start putting on the agenda, not only the economic and trade dimensions, but also increased political and security cooperation with ASEAN.

Mogherini co-chaired the meeting with Vietnam’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Pham Binh Minh.

Earlier, she had told Bernama that the EU-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum would provide an opportunity to set out the overall strategy for upgrading the EU-ASEAN relationship and to discuss issues pertaining to Asia and Southeast Asia in particular.

“From economic growth to security, we have many common challenges and we can work on them together. We have more than doubled EU regional funding to ASEAN–to €170 million ($184.6 million)–for the 2014-2020 period.

“And I have decided to appoint a dedicated ambassador to ASEAN who will take up his duties in September,” she said.

Mogherini said the EU is now ASEAN’s second largest trading partner (in terms of trading size) and the largest source of foreign investments in the region. “The EU and ASEAN are enhancing their cooperation in the area of connectivity, that is to remove internal obstacles for trade, to establish regional transport links, to promote student exchanges.