The 20th meeting of the ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) was held on 17 January 2013 in Jakarta. The meeting also marked 40 years of the ASEAN-EU friendship.

This was the first JCC meeting since the adoption by ASEAN and EU Foreign Ministers, in April 2012, of the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to strengthen the ASEAN-EU enhanced partnership 2013-2017, the EU’s accession to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in July 2012 and Viet Nam’s assumption of the Country Coordinatorship of the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Partnership.

The two sides noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in ASEAN-EU cooperation. They identified priorities for implementing the new Plan of Action, agreeing operational steps for advancing their cooperation in crisis response and disaster preparedness; maritime issues; migration and mobility; science and technology; higher education, human rights and enhanced capacity on mediation and reconciliation. The EU looks forward to further cooperation with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and with the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), whose members will visit the EU in February.

While welcoming the progress made in ASEAN integration, connectivity and Community-building, the EU reaffirmed its assistance to ASEAN’s efforts in furthering the above-mentioned processes as well as its continued support to the centrality of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture.

ASEAN and the EU shared positive views on their increasingly close trade and investment relations. They looked forward to the next round of consultations between the EU and ASEAN Economic Ministers as well as to the Third ASEAN-EU Business Summit to be held in early March in Hanoi.

The JCC also discussed preparations for the next ASEAN-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and ASEAN-EU ARF Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) to take place later this year.

Against the backdrop of the EU’s substantial support to ASEAN’s integration effort, ASEAN and the EU reviewed the implementation progress of ongoing cooperation programmes in support of ASEAN’s economic integration, institutional capacity-building, statistics, ASEAN’s FTA negotiating capacity, intellectual property rights and air transport. They welcomed the preparation of new cooperation programmes in higher education and border management, and the start of two other programmes, namely the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Initiative (READI) and the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) project.

In the context of the ARISE programme, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and EU Ambassador Julian Wilson signed a grant contract of € 3 million for enhancing the operational capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat. Both sides also had a very constructive discussion about the support to the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. The EU is looking forward to further engagement with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Connectivity(ACCC). The EU’s sharing of unique experience with ASEAN in the area of “institutional connectivity” was highly appreciated.

As the meeting to be the last one of the JCC held under the ongoing programming cycle of EU development aid 2007-2013, both sides exchanged views on possible orientations for future EU aid under the programming cycle 2014-2020.

The 20th meeting of the ASEAN-EU JCC was co-chaired by His Excellency Mr. Vu Dang Dzung, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to ASEAN as coordinator for the ASEAN-EU partnership, and Mr. RanieriSabatucci, Head of the South-East Asia Division of the European External Action Service, together with Mr. Jean-Claude Boidin, Head of Unit of the European Commission Directorate General for Development Cooperation. The meeting was also attended by members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and EU, as well as representatives of EU Member States.