BRUSSELS, 3 July 2015 – The 23rd ASEAN-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting was held yesterday in Brussels to review the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership and discuss future direction. The Meeting noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in ASEAN-EU relations and shared willingness to work towards a Strategic Partnership embracing all aspects of mutual interest, including those underpinned by political and security cooperation. In this connection, ASEAN welcomed the interest of the EU in furthering engagement with the region through all ASEAN-led processes. The Meeting agreed there should be mechanisms to intensify the follow-up work towards an ASEAN-EU strategic partnership and welcomed Thailand’s offer, as incoming country coordinator for relations with the EU, to take this forward.

Particular emphasis was placed on topics of mutual interest for ASEAN and the EU to work together, such as maritime security, cooperation on trans-national crime and counter-terrorism, connectivity, business, trade and investment, enhanced capacity on mediation and reconciliation, climate change, environment and disaster management. ASEAN and the EU also devoted special attention to the challenge of irregular migration, trafficking in human beings and the need for comprehensive regional responses, including those related to tackling the root causes, and in providing assistance and protection to those in need.

The Meeting shared positive views on increasingly close trade and investment relations between ASEAN and the EU and continued engagement in this respect. Both sides shared positive views on the industry’s active role and engagement in ASEAN-EU cooperation as a way to deliver the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The 4th ASEAN-EU Business Summit on 23 August 2015 in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and the ASEAN-EU Days with B2B meetings in Milan (Italy) on 29-30 September 2015 will provide opportunities to enhance business relations between Europe and ASEAN.

Recalling the meeting between the EU and the ACCC held in Nay Pyi Taw on 11 September 2014, the EU reiterated its willingness to engage more closely with ASEAN on connectivity, including by sharing lessons learnt at both national and EU-level deriving from the European integration process.

Reaffirming the commitment by ASEAN and EU Ministers at the 20th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM), the Meeting underlined the prospects of closer cooperation on environment and climate change, at a time when both sides prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) to take place in Paris in December 2015 and the forthcoming approval by the United Nations General Assembly of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The EU reiterated its support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture and expressed its appreciation for ASEAN’s important contribution to promoting dialogue and cooperation for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The Meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency Le Hoai Trung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and Mr Ugo Astuto, Acting Managing Director of the Asia-Pacific Department of the European External Action Service.