Europe eyes closer ties with Southeast Asia
By Jeannette I. Andrade
12 May 2017

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - 2017 is a special for the EU as it marks the 60th year of the Rome Treaties as well as the 40th anniversary of its relations with the Asean.

Europe is gearing toward further strengthening its ties with Southeast Asia as a natural regional partner.

High Representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and policy and Vice President Federica Mogherini is set to participate in August in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional forum.

“The EU’s global strategy seeks to build on our strengths and the strengths of our partners to develop a stronger international system based on rules and multilateralism. A key element is to increase cooperation among and within regions, thus, the work between the EU and Asean is gaining increased importance,” said Ambassador Franz Jessen in a speech at the Europe Day reception on Tuesday night at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City for the EU’s 60th year.

Jessen said 2017 was very special for the EU as it marks the 60th year of the Rome Treaties as well as the 40th anniversary of its relations with the Asean.

“It is a fortunate coincidence that this celebration takes place during the Philippine chairmanship of Asean,” the EU ambassador said.

Jessen said the EU would continue to promote international peace and security, development cooperation, human rights and responding to humanitarian crises at the heart of its foreign and security policies.

He said the EU would continue to take a leading role in promoting free trade among countries.

Jessen noted that among Asean countries, only the Philippines benefits from the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance and GSP+ status, with duty-free exports of 66 percent tariff lines worth around 1.6 billion euros in 2016.

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