ASEAN carries a strategic vision using a pluralistic and flexible approach to problem-solving with always a staunch reference to the rule of law. For France, a country in search of a better balanced multipolar world and takes into account the shift on Asia of the centre of tomorrow world economy, ASEAN is an essential organisation, central in Asia as well as central across the Indo-Pacific.
This was said by Ambassador-Designate of France to Brunei Darussalam Bernard Regnauld-Fabre who is also the Patron of the French Bruneian Business Association (FBBA) during his talk on ‘The French and European Union visions for ASEAN and Indo-Pacific’ during the Business Talk ‘The Road Towards Post 2025 ASEAN Community’ organised by FBBA yesterday.
“For the European Union (EU), ASEAN is a very important organisation with credible multilateral institutions.
“EU has invested a lot in its bilateral relations with ASEAN from 2014 to 2020, EUR800 million have been mobilised within the framework of Team Europe with a special focus in a programme to fight covid-19.”
At the Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting on December 1, 2020, the ambassador-designate recalled that “a major step was recently achieved with the upgrading of EU-ASEAN relations into a strategic partnership with 20 dialogue and cooperation mechanisms. The EU is now on equal footing with the eight other strategic partners of ASEAN”.
Stressing on the importance of Indo-Pacific, he said, “Indo-Pacific countries together with the EU accounts for 70 per cent of global world trade of goods and services.
“The EU appreciates ASEAN’s efforts to build a rule-based regional architecture.”
Regnauld-Fabre said, “Indo-Pacific is a priority of the French presidency of the EU, President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission Vice President Joseph Borell.”
He said an indo Pacific Ministerial Forum to tackle global challenges, connectivity and digital issues and security as well as defence will open in Paris on February 22, for all 27 members of the EU as well as Indo-Pacific states including most of ASEAN members.