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EU supports ASEAN cause

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

The European Union is ready to support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations which it called a partner and friend.

“The European Union fully supports ASEAN’s efforts and its mission. We are working towards a strategic partnership to encompass not only trade, investment, and sectoral cooperation but also more security cooperation,” European Council President Donald Tusk said during the 40th ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City yesterday.

According to Tusk, ASEAN and the EU have forged a four-decade relationship which its citizens can rightly be proud, saying that there is still potential for greater engagement, from trade to climate, maritime security, to counter-terrorism.

“Together, we can make our two regions stronger. Like the EU, ASEAN is vital for stability in the challenging regional context and the time of geopolitical volatility,” he said.

Tusk also said the EU remains committed to a strong and cohesive ASEAN developing in its own character, in the best interest of regional prosperity, stability, and security.

“Further enhancing our relations based on common interests and shared values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law is a priority for the EU,” he said.

Tusk said the ASEAN-EU serves as a bridge between Asia and Europe in troubling times, especially in security issues.

“Most crisis today have a global impact. Conflict in the EU’s neighborhood has an impact on markets and societies as well, including here in this region in Southeast Asia,” he said.

“Tensions and radicalization in the Asia Pacific can destabilize the world beyond the origin. Terrorist ideologies have spread across continents,” he added.

“We can mitigate the threat if we work together, sharing information on suspects and trends of concern.”

Tusk said the ASEAN and the EU are developing anti-terror cooperation through information sharing via the International Police Organization and European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and the exchange of best practices on dealing with violent extremism.

“Be it in the fight against piracy, against illegal and unregulated fishing, or any other type of transnational criminality at sea, the EU has a strong record and know-how that we are sharing with ASEAN partners,” he said.