EU Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Igor Driesmans, during a virtual EU press briefing on 2 December 2020 mentioned “Firstly, the EU and ASEAN will form a stronger bond, in defence of values, ASEAN centrality and a shared rejection of spheres of influence and the premise that “might makes right”. Secondly, the opportunity for more engagement among our leaders to oversee and shape opportunities for further cooperation on trade, security and defence, and sustainable development.”
The global fight to COVID-19 pandemic is the right momentum to strengthen the relation between EU-ASEAN with Vaccine and Health cooperation. Ministers expressed strong support for vaccine multilateralism, dialogue on COVID-19 vaccines launched and with the new EU support program “South East Asia Health Pandemic Response and Preparedness” of EUR 20 million. EU will continue to put expertise and resources to work within the COVAX facility for a successful vaccine.
The outcome from the document of joint statement connectivity is to strengthen practical cooperation including through a new connectivity partnership and to uphold a level playing field for relevant stakeholders. Some priorities and listed projects are EU to contribute 59% of the EUR 1.2 billion on ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility, on aviation Ministers urged expeditious conclusion of the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA), two new programs on climate change and environment namely “ASEAN Smart Green Cities” and “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in ASEAN”. Lastly with the South China Sea dispute, Ministers underlined the importance of international law and emphasized the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint. Also encouraged negotiations towards early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea consistent with international law.
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