The Joint Cooperation Committee launches intensive dialogue in ASEAN-EC cooperation
- The 15th ASEAN-EC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) was held in Jakarta on 26 February 2005 and attended by representatives of ASEAN Member Countries, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. EU member states were invited as Observers. The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Marty Natalegawa, Director-General of ASEAN-Indonesia and Mr. Erich Muller, Director for Asia, EuropeAid Cooperation Office of the European Commission. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of cordiality, openness and mutual understanding that is the fruit of more than 30 years of dialogue and cooperation between the EC and ASEAN.
Key developments in ASEAN-EU cooperation
- The Meeting reviewed the ASEAN-EC cooperation since its last meeting in September 2001. The successful 14th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels, in January 2003, set the direction and agenda for future cooperation. In this regard, the Meeting reaffirmed the commitment of both sides to strengthen and enhance ASEAN-EU cooperation through a more comprehensive and balanced agenda, and by developing and implementing joint initiatives based on common interests, in line with their respective regional priorities and needs.
- The EC-side underlined its solidarity with ASEAN and its people, affected by the Tsunami. The Meeting was informed of the latest follow up to the Special ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting of 6 January 2005 in Jakarta, including the Ministerial Meeting of 28-29 January 2005 in Phuket, and ASEAN’s role in dealing with the effects of Tsunami. EC informed on its assistance measures and especially the regional aspects thereof. In this regard, ASEAN expressed its appreciation to EC’s commitment and delivery of assistance to the affected ASEAN countries. Both sides agreed to keep each other informed on this issue.
- The Meeting welcomed the European Commission’s strategy ‘On A New Partnership with Southeast Asia’ issued in July 2003, which serves as the basis for EC to develop future relationship with ASEAN. In this connection, ASEAN noted with appreciation EC’s initiatives to promote trade and non-trade dialogue and cooperation between ASEAN and EU, through the Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative (TREATI) and the Regional EC-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) respectively.
- ASEAN briefed the EC on the outcomes of the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali, 2003 and the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, 2004, in particular the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II to establish the ASEAN Community by 2020, the Plans of Action for the three pillars of the ASEAN Community and the short and medium term programme to develop the Community as contained in the Vientiane Action Programme. The EC welcomed the positive development in ASEAN, especially the efforts towards strengthening regional integration and narrowing the development gaps.
- The Meeting reviewed the ongoing ASEAN-EC development cooperation since its last meeting in September 2001, and noted with satisfaction the progress of a significant number of programmes, which have been undertaken under the ASEAN-EC cooperation framework. In this connection, ASEAN appreciated the EC’s continued commitment to support ASEAN integration as a basis for stability and prosperity in South East Asia. The EC stands ready to share its own relevant experience on regional integration. Both sides underlined in this respect the good results and strategic importance of the EC-ASEAN Programme for Regional Integration Support (APRIS).
- The Meeting reaffirmed the agreement to promote EC and ASEAN cooperation with a clear focus in policy dialogue on mutually beneficial areas based on the Bali Concord II, Vientiane Action Programme and the New EU Partnership Strategy. The Meeting had thorough consideration on READI. In this regard the Meeting agreed to task the ASEAN Secretariat, Indonesia and the EC delegation in Jakarta to further refine the READI concept for the consideration of member countries with a view to its endorsement by the Foreign Ministers at their Meeting in Jakarta on 10-11 March 2005. An ICM meeting will be convened on a date to be proposed by the ASEAN side, to follow up the process.
- The Meeting agreed to launch intensive dialogue to formulate a work-plan for future ASEAN-EC cooperation. The work plan would reflect the priorities of both sides and include a practical time frame, in order to facilitate, expedite and move forward the implementation of ASEAN-EC cooperation programmes.
- The Meeting had a good and thorough discussion on the EC-ASEAN Regional Indicative Programme 2005-2006 and its specific programme components. The JCC officially endorsed the Indicative Programme with a certain textual precision, as the agenda for EC-ASEAN co-operation in 2005-2006. Its endorsement is a statement of commitment by both sides to work jointly on a full and speedy implementation. In this regard ASEAN would promote coordination among the existing counter-terrorism centers in ASEAN to ensure an effective counterpart to the EC in the foreseen programme on the ‘fight against terrorism’. The Meeting took note of the commitment by the ASEAN Secretariat to be willing to actively support the implementation of the EU-ASEAN visibility strategy in which joint promotion activities will be undertaken.
- The JCC will submit its key conclusions for adoption to the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting which will take place on 10-11 March 2005 in Jakarta.
- The 16th ASEAN-EC JCC Meeting will be held in 2006 in Brussels.
Jakarta, 26 February 2005