EU earmarks €2-B to fund bilateral dev't cooperation with ASEAN

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

November 13, 2017, 8:31 pm

MANILA— A day before the 40th European Union (EU)-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the Western bloc announced it earmarked a total of 2 billion euros to support bilateral development cooperation with the ASEAN member states. 

In a statement, European Council President Donald Tusk said EU countries want to widen and deepen relationship with ASEAN that is based on “mutual respect, common interests and shared values”.

“Few emerging economies are growing so fast as those of ASEAN. Europeans want to do what we can to ensure this impressive achievement is sustained long into the future and helps as many people as possible,” he said.

“That is why the EU is doubling development cooperation funds to support ASEAN integration and also devotes over €2 billion in bilateral cooperation with all ASEAN countries,” he added.

Tusk noted that the world has become a more dangerous and unpredictable place in recent years, requiring the international community to take counsel together and cooperate.

“Our leaders should talk more, and more frankly, and meet more often. A credible rules-based international order is vital for us both, whether we talk about trade, regional security or issues like climate change,” Tusk said.

“ASEAN and the EU are rightly expanding our security cooperation already from preventive diplomacy to conflict mediation and crisis management, from maritime security to transnational crime and counter-terrorism. This is sorely needed,” he stressed.

Tusk will attend the ASEAN-EU Summit which marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-EU relations on Nov. 14.

As per the EU, leaders participating the event are expected to accelerate efforts towards a 'strategic partnership' between the two blocs and further enhance political and security dialogue and cooperation. This, based on the new EU-ASEAN Plan of Action 2018-2022.

Tusk is set to reiterate the EU's support to the ASEAN integration process and address leaders on opportunities for strengthened EU-ASEAN cooperation, particularly on security and global challenges. 

Leaders are also expected to express their resolve to work together to reinforce the rules-based international order and multilateralism. (PNA)