What Does the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership Mean?



The EU-ABC Publishes: ASEAN seen as region of the best economic opportunity but needs to accelerate work on elimination of barriers to trade.

After 44 years of formal partnership, ASEAN and the EU agreed to upgrade their relationship to a strategic partnership on December 1, 2020.

At first glance, this may seem like a long time coming. After all, these two regional bodies have been engaged in dialogue and agreements for several decades, so it is not completely unexpected. Yet it is also perhaps a surprise, given that the idea of a strategic partnership has been less on the radar in recent years.

The ASEAN-EU strategic partnership can best be regarded as a consolidation of the current range of cooperative arrangements and shared objectives, which is broad, commendable, and impressive compared to earlier phases of the relationship. These include economic cooperation and the EU’s ongoing support for ASEAN integration, and cooperation on such issues as the response to COVID-19, climate change and green growth, sustainable development and connectivity, maritime cooperation, and cybersecurity.


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