1 . The 11th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held on 22-23 September 1994 in Karlsruhe, under the co-chairmanship of Germany and Singapore. The Ministers had a comprehensive and constructive exchange of views on a number of political, security, economic and other issues. The meeting was held in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and understanding.
2. The Ministers reviewed significant developments in EU ASEAN relations since their last meeting in Manila on 29-30 October 1992 and welcomed the results achieved by the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held in Davao on 21-22 January 1994, particularly the decision of the JCC to establish five subcommittees in the areas of trade, science and technology, economic and industrial cooperation, narcotics and forestry, in order to provide guidelines and to enhance mutual comprehension for practical cooperation activities.
3. The Ministers expressed satisfication over the substantial progress of the relationship and agreed that cooperation between EU and ASEAN had been further consolidated and diversified. They welcomed the content of the Commission’s communication to the European Council and to the European Parliament on the new strategy towards Asia and, in particular, concerning ASEAN. In this regard, the Ministers agreed that ASEAN should remain a cornerstone of the EU’s dialogue with the Asian region. The ministers stressed the. importance of the fact that both regional organisations, due to their successful integration efforts, have experienced an increase in political and economic weight and contributed to welfare as well as to the maintenance of security and stability in an increasingly interdependent world.
4 . The -ministers expressed ‘ their commitment to reinvigorate and to intensify their longstanding dialogue and cooperation on issues of peace and security, the environment and sustainable development, trade and investment, human . rights, based on partnership, shared responsibility and mutual benefit.
Developments in ASEAN and the EU
The Ministers welcomed the completion of the European Internal Market in 1993 ‘and the ratification of the Treaty of Maastricht providing for the establishment of a European Union. The Ministers also welcomed the enlargement of the EU to a possible 16 member States by 1 January 1995. The Ministers expressed the hope that these developments would maintain and further expand trade and investment flows between the two regions and enhance EU-ASEAN economic cooperation.
6 . The Ministers also welcomed the progress towards the realisation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The EU-Ministers renewed their offer to provide assistance to facilitate the realisation of AFTA.
7. The Ministers expressed their support for mutual efforts to consolidate, enlarge and continue to open their markets as a means to further expand trade and investment flows between the two regions.
Trade 8. The Ministers noted with satisfaction that the volume of trade between the EU and ASEAN in 1993 exceeded 49 billion ECU, nearly four times the volume of trade in 1980, the year the EU-ASEAN Cooperation Agreement was concluded. In this connection, the Ministers noted the value of the on-going dialogue between the EU and ASEAN in increasing two-way trade and investments and recognised that EU assistance in this field had contributed to ASEAN’s export growth and diversification. They agreed that such cooperation be continued, particularly by encouraging mutual investment by the private sector.
9.·The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to an open multilateral trade system to sustain world economic growth. In this connection, the Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the Uruguay Round negotiations as a significant step forward for the harmonious two-way development of EU-ASEAN trade relations. The Ministers agreed that both the EU and ASEAN would continue to improve market access in order to maintain growth in their two-way trade. In this connection, the Ministers expressed their support for the early establishment and operation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the target date of 1 January 1995 and the implementation of the Uruguay Round results in accordance with the agreed rules. The Ministers welcomed the Marrakesh Ministerial decisions, discussions and deliberations.
10. The Ministers recognized that the General System of Preferences (GSP) has contributed to the growth in exports from ASEAN to the EU. More than one third of ASEAN’s exports to the EU enjoy tariff concessions under the GSP. The Ministers noted that the EU envisages a revision and updating of the GSP for the next decade. In this context, the Ministers recognised that the Cumulative Rules of Origin (CRO) provision has contributed to ASEAN’s regional integration and would further assist ASEAN in achieving its objectives of an ASEAN Free Trade Area. . The ASEAN Ministers stressed their concerns about certain elements such as “Social Incentives” in the Commission proposals on the review of the GSP. The ASEAN Ministers asked that the proposed scheme should take into account the need for smooth industrial development in the ASEAN countries and the multilateral principles. The EU Ministers took note of these remarks while stressing the development aspects of the proposed scheme.
11. The Ministers agreed that mutually beneficial economic cooperation should be accorded high priority in EU ASEAN relations. The Ministers thus expressed the need to further focus on three main areas of economic cooperation:
(a) Improvement of scientific and technological potential (e.g. creation of a network of Regional Technology Centres);
(b) Assistance to trade and investment enabling activities (e.g. European Business Information Centres as a complement to existing bilateral institutions);
(c) Promotion of business-to-business cooperation (e.g. European Community Investment Partners).
12. The Ministers agreed that further efforts be made to ensure full involvement of the private sector in EU ASEAN economic cooperation. The Ministers particularly welcomed the first EU-ASEAN Business Conference in Stuttgart on 23-24 September 1994 as a significant step forward in order to promote cooperation between private enterprises, business associations and chambers of commerce and industry in both regions.
13. The Ministers took note of the efforts made to complete by the end of 1994 the constitution of a network of European Business Information Centres in ASEAN capitals. These Centres will provide valuable information to businessmen on market conditions in Europe and ASEAN.
14. The Ministers welcomed the decision by the EU to extend to Asia and Latin American countries the European Investment Bank (EIB) credit facilities. In this connection, the Ministers noted with satisfaction a first EIB credit operation in ASEAN for an amount of 40 million ECU. The ASEAN Ministers requested the EU to consider the enhancement of EIB credit facilities to Asian and Latin American countries and the extension of these credit facilities beyond their expiry in February 1996.
15. The Ministers stressed the need to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights and its implementation in accordance with the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property System (TRIPS) . The Ministers agreed that EU and ASEAN would continue to cooperate on this subject through appropriate channels.
16. The Ministers discussed EU-ASEAN development cooperation, and notably the commitment of both sides to give priority to the alleviation or poverty, human resource development, health and family planning, the role of women, respect for human rights, environment and sustainable development, taking into account the individual ASEAN countries, needs.
17. The Ministers reviewed- with satisfaction the positive result of development cooperation by the EU and ASEAN countries in the less developed countries of Southeast Asia. They further recognised the interest of EU and ASEAN to put forward a joint effort to promote development including the alleviation of poverty in these countries in order to ‘facilitate their full participation in the economic growth of Southeast Asia. The Ministers expressed their support for other regional initiatives in the field of development cooperation, such as the Forum for the comprehensive Development of Indochina.
Other Priority Sectors for Coop ration
18. Apart from the priorities above, the Ministers particularly noted the following:
- Human Resource Development
The Ministers welcomed the opening of the ASEAN-EU Management Centre in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on 11 May, 1994 and the successful implementation of the EU ASEAN scholarship programme. Likewise, the Ministers stressed their support to the promotion of inter university cooperation.
The Ministers welcomed the declaration of 1995 as the “ASEAN Year of the Environment”, and look forward to an early decision on the establishment of the EU-ASEAN Centre of Excellence on- Biodiversity Conservation. The Ministers also agreed to continue the discussions on environmental cooperation on the occasion of an expert level Seminar to be held in Singapore early in 1995 and to have examined the establishment of a subcommittee on environment. The Ministers urged the early implementation of the commitments made at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
- Science and Technology
The Ministers welcomed the launching of a long term . programme designed to promote joint research projects, technology transfer, human resources development and cooperation in selected fields.
- Energy Cooperation
The ministers welcomed the recent approval of a comprehensive programme designed to facilitate the transfer of technology in the sector of renewable sources of energy (co-generation from biomass – “COGEN” Phase II) as well as the ASEAN financial support as a counterpart funding to the ASEAN-EU energy management training and research centre (AEEMTRC Phase II).
The Ministers emphasised the importance of increasing the effectiveness of policies and measures to counter the illicit traffic of narcotics and psychotropic substances, the laundering of financial proceeds from such activities and the diversion of trade in the precursor chemicals, as well as measures to prevent and reduce drug abuse. The Ministers confirmed their determination to closely cooperate in these fields on the basis of the UN Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances of: 1988, and of the UN Global Plan of Action. In particular, they underlined their intention to positively conclude as early as possible the negotiations on Drug Precursors Control.
Future Directions of EU-ASEAN Cooperation
19. The Ministers agreed that increased EU-ASEAN cooperation is a central element in relations between Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region. The Ministers expressed their determination to implement this cooperation to the mutual benefit of the two regions.
20. When differences exist, the Ministers reiterated that the spirit of dialogue and cooperation between EU and ASEAN should continue and prevail in order to achieve their settlement in a peaceful and negotiated manner and in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
21. The Ministers had an extensive and fruitful exchange of views on the future directions of the cooperation between both regions and agreed that the following be given pre-eminence:
- Maintenance of an open, fair and transparent world trade system as underpinned by the results of the Uruguay Round.
- Promotion of business sector cooperation.
- Poverty alleviation and education.
- Protection of the environment both urban and natural.
- Fight against drugs and HIV/AIDS.
- Improving the EU profile in ASEAN and the ASEAN profile in the EU.
- Promotion of cultural cooperation. and media exchange and cooperation
22. The Ministers agreed to the creation of an ad hoc and informal eminent persons group from both regions in order to further enhance ASEAN-EU relations.
Political and Security Issues
23. The Ministers agreed to strengthen the partnership between EU and ASEAN in addressing global issues.
The Ministers welcomed the intensified political and security cooperation and dialogue between the EU and ASEAN. The EU Ministers congratulated ASEAN for the successful launching of the first meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok on 25 July 1994, as a consultative forum on political and security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. They welcomed, in particular, the inclusion of the EU, as an ASEAN dialogue partner, in this forum. The Ministers noted the understanding to reconvene the ARF on an annual basis and that the next meeting be held in Brunei Darussalam ‘in 1995. . The Ministers agreed that cooperation between institutes for strategic and international studies in both regions should be promoted.
24. The Ministers expressed their continued commitment to promote the disarmament process and the global non proliferation regimes. They underscored the importance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Ministers called upon all signatory States of the Chemical Weapons Convention to ratify this document as soon as possible, emphasized the importance of the Biological Weapons Convention and supported the negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) . The Ministers agreed that United Nations capacities for preventive diplomacy, peace making, peace-keeping and post-conflict peace building must be further improved including the strengthening of the UN-role in securing peace and stability in Europe, Asia-Pacific and in other parts of the world. They also stressed the need for a continuous development of confidence and security building measures regionally as well as globally.
25. The Ministers emphasised their common commitment tthe promotion of and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. They expressed their strong support for the successful implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
26. The Ministers emphasised their commitment to the strengthening of ‘international cooperation in the framework of the United Nations. They noted the successful conclusion of the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in September 19 94 The Ministers expressed their determination to contribute to a successful outcome of the World Summit for Social Development in March 1995 and recommended that participation at the summit be at high political level. They welcomed the convening of the 4th World Conference on Women to be held in Beijing in September 1995. Regional Issues
27. Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
Ministers reviewed the political and economic reform process undertaken in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. They noted encouraging progress in this field. The EU Ministers explained the EU strategy of rapprochement and gradual preparation of Central and Eastern European countries having signed Europe agreements for future EU membership. They noted the positive development of regional cooperation efforts, including the Baltic regional cooperation and the cooperation within the Barents region. The Ministers noted that Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union offered new opportunities for economic engagement. The EU Ministers particularly invited ‘ the ASEAN countries to further engage themselves economically in these countries.
28. Situation in former Yugoslavia
The Ministers deplored the continued intransigence of the Bosnian Serbs and expressed their concern over the grave situation arising from their rejection of the peace plan of the Contact Group. The Ministers welcomed the Bosnian Government’s acceptance of the peace plan and the decision of President Milosevic to close the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina and accept international monitoring. The. Ministers reaffirmed that the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina must not be compromised.
The Ministers strongly condemned the persistent campaign of “ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by the Bosnian-Serb forces in the areas in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina under their control. The Ministers demanded that the Bosnian-Serb forces immediately cease their campaign of ‘,ethnic cleansing”. They emphasized that this practice of ,ethnic cleansing” constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law and poses a serious threat to the peace effort.
The Ministers appealed to the international community to mobilise all necessary resources for the rehabilitation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its reconstruction, once a peace plan has been agreed.
The EU Ministers welcomed the envisaged full membership of Vietnam in ASEAN. The Ministers noted with interest the development of APEC and the EU’s interest in having a dialogue with APEC. The Ministers further noted that the proposed East Asia Economic Caucus (EAEC) would be a forum that would further enhance regional cooperation.
30. Comprehensive Plan of Action
The Ministers welcomed the statement of the 5th Steering Committee of the International Conference on Indochinese refugees held in Geneva on 14 February 1994, including the need to accelerate the return of all non-refugees from first asylum countries to meet the target date of the end of 1995.
The Ministers noted with satisfaction the results of the EU efforts to make possible the reintegration of Indochinese refugees from first asylum countries.
31. Situation on the Korean Peninsula
The Ministers welcomed the agreed statement reached between the USA and the DPRK in Geneva, 12 August 1994, and expressed their hope for a. successful continuation of the US-DPRK dialogue and a resumption of the inter Korean talks in the near future. The Ministers remained deeply concerned about the unresolved nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula and expressed the hope that a solution to the nuclear issue be found soon in full compliance with international obligations and the joint statement on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The Ministers stated their full support of the work of the IAEA Board of Governors and urged concerned parties to comply immediately and fully with the IAEA safeguards agreement.
32. South China Sea
The Ministers welcomed the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea that called for the resolution of disputes by peaceful means through negotiations. They noted the holding of bilateral talks between certain countries concerned and the multilateral discussions in the series of Workshops on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea organised by Indonesia have positively contributed towards stabilising the situation in the South China Sea.
The Ministers reiterated their support for the Royal Government of Cambodia, but noted with concern that peace and stability in Cambodia had not been fully realised. They reiterated their readiness to assist the Royal Government in its efforts to unite and reconstruct the country and to contribute to its economic development. They appealed to all parties concerned to settle their differences by peaceful and democratic means as a prerequisite for the political, economic and social recovery of their country.
The Ministers noted that there had been some positive developments in Myanmar’. They expressed the hope that ASEAN’s policy of constructive engagement and the EU’s willingness to engage in a critical dialogue will eventually contribute to achieving more sustainable improvements in all fields.
Finally, the Ministers decided:
- to further strengthen cooperation in the framework of the existing cooperation agreement between EU and ASEAN, to their mutual benefit and advantage.
- to intensify the close dialogue on all areas of mutual interest and priorities of importance to both regions, through the mechanisms for consultation and dialogue agreed between them.
- to conduct the dialogue at the levels of both Ministers and Senior Officials; Ministers will meet again in 2 years on a mutually agreed date in Singapore on the invitation of ASEAN; the 12th ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee .(JCC) will meet in 1995 on the invitation of the European Union and the inaugural ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) will be hosted by Singapore in 1995.