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Overview of ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations


The ASEAN-European Union (EU) dialogue relations were formalised when the 10th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), held on 5-8 July 1977, agreed on ASEAN’s formal cooperation and relationship with the European Economic Community (EEC), which included the Council of Ministers of the EEC, the Permanent Representative of the EEC countries and the EEC Commission.

The ASEAN-EU dialogue relations were institutionalised with the signing of the ASEAN-EEC Cooperation Agreement on 7 March 1980. The dialogue relations have since rapidly grown and expanded to cover a wide range of areas including political and security, economic and trade, social and cultural and development cooperation.

ASEAN-EU dialogue relations are guided by the Nuremberg Declaration on an EU-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership which was adopted in 2007. The Declaration sets out long-term vision and commitment of both sides to work together for common goals and objectives in the future.


Political-Security Cooperation

  • Political and security cooperation between ASEAN and the EU has been progressing well. High level meetings have been held between the two sides such as the 19th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) on 26-27 April 2012, in Bandar Seri Begawan and the ASEAN-EU SOM on 18-19 October 2011 in Warsaw. These regular meetings have helped ASEAN and the EU understand one another and build higher comfort level to further cooperation. ASEAN views these meetings critical in reviewing and guiding ASEAN-EU relations.
  • The 19th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, which was held on 26-27 April 2012 in Brunei Darussalam, adopted the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to Strengthen the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership (2013-2017) that aims to give a more strategic focus to cooperation at regional cooperation in a wide range of areas – political/ security, economic/ trade and sociocultural.
  • The EU acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in Phnom Penh on the sidelines of the 45th AMM/PMC/19th ARF on 12 July 2012, as all the High Contracting Parties have deposited their instruments of ratification to the Third Protocol. The accession demonstrated the EU’s commitment towards ASEAN and reflected as the important milestones in ASEAN-EU relations to promote peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Currently there are 24 Ambassadors from the EU Member States and the Commission accredited their Ambassadors to ASEAN. Those are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, the EU, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Economic Cooperation

  • Trade and investment relations between ASEAN and EU remained substantial. Total trade between ASEAN and the EU grew modestly by 12.6%, amounting to US$ 234.8 billion in 2011. Exports to the EU increased by 10% amounting to US$126.6 billion and imports from the EU rose 15.6% totalling US$108.2 billion.
  • Foreign Direct Investment flow from the EU into ASEAN increased by 7.2% totalling US$18.2 billion. The EU remains ASEAN’s third largest trading partner and continues to be ASEAN’s biggest source of Foreign Direct Investment, with a share of 16%.
  • In Tourism, the number of visitor arrivals from the EU to ASEAN in 2011 was 7.33 million, an increase from 6.97 million in 2010.
  • At the 12th AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations held on 8 March 2013 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, the Ministers adopted the the ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme for 2013-2014, which aims at improving two-way trade relations and investment between ASEAN and the EU as well as supporting broader integration within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and the EU. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation between the two regions including the possibility of resuming negotiations of an ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement, upon realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015.
  • The 3rd ASEAN-EU Business Summit was held on 8-9 March 2013 at the sidelines of the 12th AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations. The Business Summit, which has been organised annually since 2011, continued to attract many business people from both regions and provide the opportunity for public-private sector dialogue. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner expressed hope that the event would generate more business opportunities and expand economic cooperation between the two regions.

Functional and Development Cooperation

  • ASEAN and the EU agreed on the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) which is a policy dialogue mechanism/process for promoting the ASEAN-EU dialogue relations in non-trade areas. Following the introduction of the READI, ASEAN and the EU have organised a number of sectoral/experts consultations in trafficking in persons, ICT, labour and employment, air transport, climate change, energy and science and technology.
  • ASEAN appreciated the EU’s assistance to ASEAN through the ASEAN-EU Programme for Regional Integration Support Phase II (APRIS II) and the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE). In view of the conclusion of APRIS II in December 2010, the Delegation of the EU to Indonesia had, in the second half of 2009, initiated discussions with the ASEAN Secretariat on a proposed new programme “ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE)”, with a foreseen budget of €15 million for the period from 2012 to 2016.  The ARISE Technical Assistance Team for Component 1 and 2 has been mobilized at the ASEAN Secretariat since November 2012, comprising 5 experts in the area of economic integration policy, customs and transport, standard and conformance, monitoring and evaluation and institutional strengthening. The Grant Contract for Component 3 (Capacity Building of the ASEAN Secretariat Staff) has been signed by the Secretary General on behalf of ASEAN. The signing ceremony of ARISE Programme took place at the conclusion of the 20th ASEAN-EU JCC held on 17 January 2013 at the ASEAN Secretariat.
  • ASEAN looked forward to EU’s continued support to the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre). A Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop was conducted on 7 January 2013, in a back-to-back agenda with 21st ACDM Meeting. The Workshop is one activity under the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) which provides for the development of an M&E system for AADMER in conjunction with ASEAN and the EU.
  • Following the 18th ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting on 30 November 2010 and further exchanges between ASEAN and the EU Delegation, both sides have agreed to focus on three themes comprising four areas for Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2011-2013 of which the EU has allocated an indicative budget of €30 million, as follows: ASEAN Connectivity (covering Comprehensive Border Management and Higher Education), Human Rights and Institutional Capacity (covering ASEAN regional statistics).
  • The EU also provided funding support to the ASEAN-EU Migration and Border Management Programme (2009-2011), ASEAN-EU Statistical Capacity Building Programme (2009-2012), ASEAN Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (2010-2012), Enhancing ASEAN FTA Negotiating Capacity/Support to ASEAN-EU Negotiating Process (2011-2013) and ASEAN Air Transport Integration Project (2011-2013).

As of April 2013