18th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting Co-Chair’s Statement

The 18th ASEAN-EU Min­is­te­r­i­al Meet­ing, under the theme of “Part­ners in Region­al Inte­gra­tion”, was held in Madrid, Spain on 26 May 2010 and co-chaired by their Excel­len­cies Miguel Ángel Morati­nos, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and Co-oper­a­tion of Spain, the EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy / Vice- Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Lady Cather­ine Ash­ton and His Roy­al High­ness Prince Mohamed Bolki­ah, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darus­salam. The Meet­ing was attend­ed by For­eign Min­is­ters from ASEAN and EU Mem­ber States and the Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al of ASEAN


1. The Min­is­ters reaf­firmed the unique char­ac­ter of the part­ner­ship between the EU and ASEAN, the two regions of the world that are most advanced in region­al inte­gra­tion. This is a part­ner­ship built on over thir­ty years of dia­logue and coop­er­a­tion, and based on a spir­it of equal­i­ty, mutu­al respect and mutu­al ben­e­fit. It is being sup­port­ed and rein­forced by the Nurem­berg Dec­la­ra­tion on an EUASEAN Enhanced Part­ner­ship as well as the Part­ner­ship and Co-oper­a­tion Agree­ments (PCAs) being nego­ti­at­ed with ASEAN Mem­ber States, a process which has gained momen­tum from the recent sign­ing of the first PCA with Indone­sia. The Min­is­ters under­lined the poten­tial strate­gic impor­tance of the part­ner­ship rep­re­sent­ing, as it does, almost one and a quar­ter bil­lion peo­ple. They reaf­firmed their shared desire to pro­mote polit­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty, eco­nom­ic progress, jus­tice, democ­ra­cy, human rights, good gov­er­nance, the rule of law and social equal­i­ty, peace, and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in accor­dance with the spir­it of the Char­ter of the Unit­ed Nations.

2. The Min­is­ters resolved to inten­si­fy rela­tions fur­ther through deep­en­ing polit­i­cal engage­ment and devel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive co-oper­a­tion, based in par­tic­u­lar on the Plan of Action to Imple­ment the Nurem­berg Dec­la­ra­tion on an EU-ASEAN Enhanced Part­ner­ship for the peri­od 2007–2012. Cel­e­brat­ing the 30th anniver­sary of the EC-ASEAN Co-oper­a­tion Agree­ment signed in Kuala Lumpur on 7 March 1980, the Min­is­ters expressed sat­is­fac­tion at the sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment of coop­er­a­tion and its diver­si­fi­ca­tion into new areas. They com­mend­ed the out­comes of the Phnom Penh Agen­da agreed at the 17th Min­is­te­r­i­al Meet­ing for pri­or­i­ties in imple­ment­ing the Plan of Action in 2009–2010 (Annex 2). They agreed on new pri­or­i­ty activ­i­ties under the Plan of Action for 2011–2012 (Annex 1). They tasked senior offi­cials to report on fur­ther progress, as well as pro­pose new direc­tions for ASEAN-EU co-oper­a­tion after 2012, at the next ASEAN-EU Min­is­te­r­i­al Meeting.

A. Sup­port­ing ASEAN’s wider region­al role

3. The EU under­lined its con­tin­u­ing sup­port for ASEAN’s cen­tral role in dri­ving wider co-oper­a­tion in the region. In this regard, the Min­is­ters expressed sup­port for ASEAN’s two-pronged approach for accel­er­at­ing its inte­gra­tion and com­mu­ni­ty build­ing efforts while inten­si­fy­ing its exter­nal rela­tions includ­ing through the ASEAN Region­al Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Post-Min­is­te­r­i­al Con­fer­ence Plus One, the ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Sum­mit. The Min­is­ters agreed that these process­es should be mutu­al­ly rein­forc­ing and there­fore encour­aged enhanced links between the ASEAN Polit­i­cal-Secu­ri­ty Com­mu­ni­ty and the ARF in order to achieve syn­er­gies on issues of com­mon con­cern. They also looked for­ward to the imple­men­ta­tion of the ARF Vision State­ment in order to fur­ther strength­en the Forum’s rel­e­vance and effectiveness. 

4. The Min­is­ters wel­comed the progress in amend­ing the Treaty of Ami­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in South­east Asia (TAC) to allow the EU to join the Treaty. They looked for­ward to the EU’s acces­sion to the TAC, on com­ple­tion of the nec­es­sary pro­ce­dures. The EU empha­sised that its appli­ca­tion to accede to the TAC had been intend­ed as a sig­nal of sup­port for ASEAN, and for inte­gra­tion ini­tia­tives in the wider region, and the ben­e­fits that these could bring in terms of enhanced sta­bil­i­ty, secu­ri­ty and eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty. The EU, as the first Dia­logue Part­ner to estab­lish infor­mal rela­tions with ASEAN in 1972, wished to engage fur­ther with the region in order to help achieve these benefits.

B. Exchang­ing views on devel­op­ments in ASEAN and the EU

5. The Min­is­ters wel­comed ASEAN’s con­tin­ued progress in region­al inte­gra­tion fol­low­ing adop­tion of the ASEAN Char­ter, in par­tic­u­lar the efforts to realise the ASEAN Eco­nom­ic Com­mu­ni­ty by 2015. The Min­is­ters not­ed the full imple­men­ta­tion of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the entry into force of the ASEAN-Chi­na FTA, ASEAN-Repub­lic of Korea FTA, ASEAN-Aus­tralia- New Zealand FTA and the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agree­ment on 1 Jan­u­ary 2010. They also not­ed the launch­ing of the Chi­ang Mai Ini­tia­tive Mul­ti­lat­er­al­i­sa­tion on 24 March 2010, estab­lish­ing a pool of for­eign-cur­ren­cy reserves ($120 bil­lion) among ASEAN, Chi­na, Japan and Repub­lic of Korea.

6. The Min­is­ters took note of the out­come of the 16th ASEAN Sum­mit in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 8–9 April 2010 par­tic­u­lar­ly on the com­mit­ment to imple­ment the Roadmap for an ASEAN Com­mu­ni­ty by 2015 and the ASEAN Lead­ers’ State­ment on ASEAN Con­nec­tiv­i­ty. ASEAN wel­comed the EU’s assis­tance in pro­mot­ing and devel­op­ing con­nec­tiv­i­ty in the region includ­ing in air, sea and land trans­porta­tion links and looked for­ward to deep­en­ing the exchange of views with the EU in light of its advanced phys­i­cal infra­struc­tures, com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems and sophis­ti­cat­ed technologies.

7. The Min­is­ters agreed to strength­en mutu­al coop­er­a­tion in pro­mot­ing and pro­tect­ing human rights. They expressed their sat­is­fac­tion at the grow­ing dia­logue on human rights between the EU and coun­tries of Asia and dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of work­ing togeth­er to address the grow­ing spec­trum of human rights issues. The Min­is­ters also wel­comed the estab­lish­ment of the ASEAN Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Com­mis­sion on Human Rights (AICHR). In this regard, they sup­port­ed increased dia­logue between the EU and ASEAN. The Min­is­ters wel­comed the recent estab­lish­ment of the ASEAN Com­mis­sion on the Pro­mo­tion and Pro­tec­tion of the Rights of Women and Chil­dren (ACWC). ASEAN wel­comed the EU’s sup­port in achiev­ing the mis­sion of the ACWC.

8. The Min­is­ters not­ed the inter­est of EU to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of engag­ing in defence coop­er­a­tion with ASEAN

9. The Min­is­ters exchanged views on Myan­mar. They took note of the polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in the coun­try includ­ing prepa­ra­tions for the gen­er­al elec­tions to be held this year, with the EU rais­ing the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi. Both sides empha­sized that the polit­i­cal and socio-eco­nom­ic chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try should be resolved through engag­ing all stake­hold­ers in an inclu­sive polit­i­cal process lead­ing to nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and to peace­ful tran­si­tion to civil­ian gov­ern­ment. There­fore they called on the Gov­ern­ment of Myan­mar to make the forth­com­ing elec­tions a cred­i­ble, trans­par­ent, demo­c­ra­t­ic and inclu­sive process. They believed that the ear­ly release of those under deten­tion would con­tribute to mak­ing the elec­tions more inclu­sive and help bring about a peace­ful polit­i­cal tran­si­tion. They also encour­aged the Gov­ern­ment of Myan­mar to con­tin­ue to engage in mean­ing­ful man­ner with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing ASEAN and the UN.

10. The Min­is­ters wel­comed the intent of the EU to step up its dia­logue with the author­i­ties of the coun­try and oth­er key stake­hold­ers by send­ing a del­e­ga­tion to Myan­mar to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties for devel­op­ing its engage­ment. Both sides agreed to con­tin­ue their dia­logue includ­ing on how to step up assis­tance to the peo­ple of Myan­mar in order to con­tribute to the urgent­ly need­ed improve­ment of social and eco­nom­ic con­di­tions. The Min­is­ters affirmed their com­mit­ment to the sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty of Myan­mar. In that con­text, they reit­er­at­ed that the future of Myan­mar lies in the hands of all of its people.

11. With regard to devel­op­ments in the EU, ASEAN wel­comed the rat­i­fi­ca­tion and entry into force of the Lis­bon Treaty and the recent appoint­ments of the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil and the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy/Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. ASEAN hoped that these appoint­ments will bring about reg­u­lar and effec­tive con­sul­ta­tions between ASEAN and the EU. Fur­ther­more, Min­is­ters not­ed the EU’s brief­ing on their 2020 Strat­e­gy aimed at turn­ing the EU into a smart, sus­tain­able and inclu­sive econ­o­my deliv­er­ing high lev­els of employ­ment, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and social cohesion.

12. The Min­is­ters wel­comed the recov­ery of both regions from the glob­al finan­cial and eco­nom­ic cri­sis. In spite of the pos­i­tive devel­op­ments, both sides called for close coop­er­a­tion to achieve a more bal­anced inter­na­tion­al finan­cial archi­tec­ture, includ­ing a more equi­table rep­re­sen­ta­tion of devel­op­ing coun­tries, and more effec­tive glob­al gov­er­nance. The Min­is­ters agreed that by pro­mot­ing trade, invest­ment and finan­cial links between ASEAN and the EU, growth and pros­per­i­ty would be enhanced in both regions. Thus, they wel­comed the com­mit­ment to strength­en trade rela­tions fur­ther between the two regions, and the renewed engage­ment to achieve that, includ­ing the launch of this year’s bilat­er­al FTA nego­ti­a­tions between the EU and indi­vid­ual ASEAN Mem­ber States. These agree­ments could pro­vide a step­ping stone for a future agree­ment in the region­al con­text. Min­is­ters encour­aged the rel­e­vant senior offi­cials on both sides to work togeth­er to exam­ine fur­ther ways in which the EU and ASEAN could strength­en their eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ship in view of the AEM-EU Con­sul­ta­tions to be held in Danang, Viet­nam in August 2010. 

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