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Igor Driesman

Interview with Igor Driesmans, EU ambassador to ASEAN

EUAC: How has ASEAN coped with Covid-19? Are the ten members cooperating on travel bans, economic recovery, easing lockdowns, etc?

ID: I think it is important to emphasize just how unprecedented the challenge of COVID-19 has been for all countries and regions of the world. ASEAN, like the rest of us, has found itself in unchartered waters, and I believe they have done well to navigate their way through. The ASEAN Leaders held a successful COVID-19 Special Summit in April, which took place by videoconference – a first. The summit showed that ASEAN was ready to do more collectively, particularly in the areas of public health, essential medical supplies and social protection. Regarding post-pandemic action, the ASEAN Economic Ministers are due to meet virtually in June and are expected to discuss ways to support regional supply chains and coordinated economic recovery plans.

/// OP-ED
Multilateralism, flags

EU-Asia should defend multilateralism

By Fraser Cameron

Relations between the EU and Asia face an uncertain future as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Unlike after 2008-09, when there was a coordinated global response to the financial crisis led by the US, there has been no such response to Covid-19. States have turned inwards, closing borders and placing an emphasis on national as opposed to cooperative solutions. A bitter propaganda war between the US and China has also had a negative impact on global cooperation. The implications of Covid-19 are likely to be far-reaching and will affect the balance of global power, economic structures, the role of multilateral agencies, patterns of social interaction and ways of work. Much will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic but governments will wish to mitigate the huge costs of the economic shutdown as soon as possible. Although national governments will give priority to restoring their own economies they will soon learn that this can only be effective by global cooperation. In the absence of traditional US global leadership, there is now an opportunity for the EU and Asia to demonstrate the benefits of a cooperative approach to international relations.

EU Japan VTC

EU-Japan Virtual Summit

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, held a Leaders' meeting today via a video conference. As shared in the joint press release and in the following video press conference by Mr Michel, the parties reaffirmed their commitment to work together to tackle global challenges.

EAC Logo

Webinar Report: What Next for the Korean Peninsula?

On 27 May, the EU-Asia Centre hosted a webinar ‘What Next for Korean Peninsula?’ with Anna Fifield, the Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, Ramon Pacheco Pardo, the Korea chair at the Institute of European Studies (VUB,) and Duyeon Kim, Senior Advisor for Northeast Asia and Nuclear Policy with the International Crisis Group. The event was moderated by Fraser Cameron, the Director of EU-Asia Centre.