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Strengthening ASEAN-EU cooperation

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam’s handling of the situation in Myanmar has demonstrated ASEAN’s resolve to uphold a rules based regional architecture and the commitment to keeping Southeast Asia safe, stable and open for engagement.

The approach in addressing Myanmar’s issue by ASEAN during Brunei Darussalam chair of ASEAN last year was lauded by Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof during his talk on ‘The Road Towards Post 2025 ASEAN Community’ organised by the French Bruneian Business Association (FBBA) at Baiduri Community Space, Baiduri Bank Headquarters.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan also shared that the Sultanate’s chairmanship priorities and deliverables of 2021 such as the ASEAN Junior Fellowship Programme and acceptance of a new dialogue partner were aimed to better position ASEAN in the post 2025 period.

On the relationship between the European Union (EU) and ASEAN, he said, “France and the EU are important partners for ASEAN, particularly with the acceptance of France as a development partner and elevation of EU to a strategic partner in 2020. ASEAN-EU cooperation will be further strengthened through ongoing work on the new Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership (2023-2027).”

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan described ASEAN as becoming the centre of international trade and the EU would stand to benefit from pursuing a region to region ASEAN-EU free trade agreement (FTA).

Meanwhile, the Global Gateway initiative, he said, “A newly launched EUR300 billion package for international infrastructure connectivity is a serious signal of intent of the EU’s commitment to be a major contributor to sustainable development.”

He cited that one of the potential for cooperation is through partnerships and investments in Borneo, which is at the Heart of Southeast Asia and the core of Indo-Pacific. Investments in Borneo and Brunei as well as support for the work of BIMP-EAGA will pave the way towards a stable and vibrant Indo-Pacific region.

Ambassador-Designate of France to Brunei Darussalam Bernard Regnauld-Fabre, who is also the Patron of FBBA, FBBA President Jerome Saniez, Baiduri Bank Chief Executive Officer Ti Eng Hui and FBBA executive committee and members were also present.

Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof in a group photo. PHOTO: JAMES KON
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