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ASEAN-EU Ministeria, Credit: @ASEAN2020VN

Borrell at the ASEAN Regional Forum

15 September 2020

On 10 September, Josep Borrell co-chaired with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan the virtual ASEAN-EU Ministerial Conference.

Borrell congratulated Singapore for its work since 2018 as coordinator for EU-ASEAN relations.

He noted that there had been a Ministerial meeting dedicated to our COVID-response in March, but as this was his first formal ASEAN Ministerial.

He emphasised the importance of a rules-based order rejecting the idea that “might makes right”. None of us – neither ASEAN nor the EU – is ready to become part of any “sphere of influence”, not to say new Cold Wars.

Borrell said the EU and ASEAN should work together on vaccine research and also on tackling the economic impact of the pandemic.

This meant pursuing further FTAs following the agreements with Singapore and Vietnam.

Second, to work even more closely together to enhance connectivity. He cited the launching of the EU-supported ASEAN Customs Transit System later this year as an example. He also looked forward to finalising of the Air Transport Agreement as soon as possible. The agreement would be the first of this kind, creating the world's biggest aviation market for over one billion people.

Borrell also stressed the importance of a rules-based order for maritime security, with an emphasis on the South China Sea.

'Asian security is also European security’ he said, expressing hope that more SE Asia nations would join in the EU’s CSDP operations.