Sat. Aug 13th, 2022
High representative Josep Borrell at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. EC - Audiovisual Service, European Union, 2022

Brussels, 4 August 2022

Check against delivery! 

Thank you [Honourable] Mrs [Theresa] Lazaro [Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Philippines],

Dear friends,

Let me start by thanking our Cambodian hosts for assembling us in Phnom Penh. It is a pleasure to see you in person after the last two turbulent years, and the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic.

The past months have been difficult for other reasons as well, as we face the consequences of the Russian aggression against its smaller neighbour Ukraine.

The European Union is doing all we can to support Ukraine’s efforts to maintain its territorial integrity, and condemn the acts of violence inflicted by Russian forces on the civilian population.

I will speak more on this later, at the ARF Plenary.

On a more joyous note, we are eagerly looking forward to hosting the ASEAN leaders in Brussels in December [2022] to commemorate the 45 years of the European Union and ASEAN’s relations. Almost half of a century of profitable relations.

This will also be the 2-year anniversary of the elevation of ASEAN and the European Union to strategic partners. I am very happy that this has happened during my mandate.

Looking back, we have clearly demonstrated that this was the right decision.  

As the two most advanced regional integration organisations in the world, the European Union and ASEAN understand each other on a deeper level. We both know how challenging it is to turn the vision of a regional community based on common rules, for each of its members to convert that, into practical reality for all citizens. Our similarities, and the lessons learned from our first two years of the strategic partnership, have opened the door to deeper and more productive cooperation. 

This is exemplified by the EU-ASEAN Plan of action for the period 2023-2027, which we are adopting today, as well as the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, which we plan to sign with ASEAN partners later this year. This document is a testament to the success of our strategic partnership, nonetheless because of the wide range of cooperation areas we have agreed on – including pandemic recovery, trade, rules-based and sustainable connectivity, climate change, research and security among the most important issues. I will address other areas of our cooperation in greater detail later. 

I thank you for your attention.

Link to the video:  

Source – EU Commission