The Euro-Southeast Asia ICT Forum (EUSEA2006) concluded in Singapore today. The Forum is organised by the European Commission Directorate General on Information Society and Media and supported by the Secretariat  of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN).

EUSEA2006 offers an open cooperation platform for ASEAN and European ICT players through business, regulatory and research dialogue and through strengthening of existing relations at the broader level. This 2-day event brought together over 800 delegates from 66 countries attending 24 parallel workshops and 6 training sessions on a wide range of topics including e-government, e-health, advanced education and research networks, next generation networks, open standards and interoperability.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts of Singapore highlighted in his opening remarks that this event is a valuable opportunity for ASEAN and EU to exchange ideas, share experiences and collaborate on policy and regulation, and explore joint opportunities in R&D and forge business alliances.

Mrs Viviane Reding, EC Commissioner for Information Society and Media stated that ICT trade and investment cooperation play a significant role for deepening the ASEAN-EU relationship. She stressed that joint research projects and open regulatory dialogues are keys for better business conditions and improved market access between EU and ASEAN in the ICT sector.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Mr. Ong Keng Yong urged more awareness and more dialogues and consultations to forge a greater partnership in ICT cooperation, particularly to put in place an enabling environment for ICT culture to grow, to design a greater role for private the sector, and to jointly influence global developments in the ICT sector.

Commissioner Viviane Reding had a bilateral meeting with Secretary-General Ong on 19 June 2006 to further explore ways to strengthen ASEAN-EU ICT cooperation. They discussed a number of opportunities, such as R&D partnership, education and innovation, and sharing of regulatory and policy development. They also agreed to work together on ICT issues on the global agenda.

ASEAN Secretariat, Singapore, 20 June 2006