Press release: Committee on Foreign Affairs delegation supports strategic partnership with Southeast Asia
The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, led by its chair David McAllister (EPP, DE), visited ASEAN, Indonesia and Thailand on 8-11 May 2018. At the end of the visit Mr McAllister said:
“Last year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the EU-ASEAN relations and the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. The EU has longstanding and diverse bilateral relations with Indonesia and Thailand and a unique region-to-region relation with ASEAN. Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Its population is comparable to the European Union and its economy is growing strongly. The ambitious integration plans are adding up to its economic and political dynamism.
Four years ago the European Parliament recommended to upgrade the region-to-region relationship with ASEAN into a strategic partnership. We would also like to see the largest ASEAN member state Indonesia to be recognised as a strategic partner. As with all our key partners we hope to intensify bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and maritime security.
Our visit to ASEAN concluded in Thailand, who will hold the ASEAN chair next year. I welcome plans for the legislative elections in Thailand and hope that they will indeed be held according to the roadmap presented by the Thai government. In the run up to the elections we would welcome to see the necessary lifting of restrictions on political activities in order to open debates by political parties, media and the civil society. With the re-establishment of democratic governance we are looking forward to the full resumption of our traditionally warm relations with Thailand.”
The Committee Members held productive meetings with ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi and Permanent Representatives of ASEAN member states, as well as Indonesian and Thai Ministers, other senior government representatives and Members of Parliament, the diplomatic corps as well as civil society and think-tanks.
In addition to Mr McAllister the delegation was composed of six MEPs: Mr Cristian Dan PREDA (EPP, RO), Ms Željana ZOVKO (EPP, HR), Mr Doru FRUNZULICA (S&D, RO), Mr Juan Fernando LOPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES), Mr Wajid KHAN (S&D, UK), and Mr Urmas PAET (ALDE, EE).