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Jakarta (VNA) – Representatives from ASEAN and the European Union (EU) reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the existing close trade and investment relations between the regions during the 23rd Meeting of the ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 4.

The two sides welcomed the substantial rate of implementation of cooperation activities foreseen in the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to Strengthen the ASEAN-EU Partnership (2013-2017), and exchanged views on development in their respective regions.

The EU applauded the formation of the ASEAN Community late last year and the adoption of the ASEAN Vision 2025. It also reaffirmed its support to the centrality of ASEAN in the regional architecture.

The group appreciated the EU’s pledge to strengthen ASEAN-EU relations, and welcomed the appointment of Francisco Fontan as the first EU Ambassador to ASEAN.

The two sides welcomed the enhancement of cooperation in non-traditional security, including maritime security, preventive diplomacy, mediation, cyber security, counter-terrorism and transnational crimes.

Participants noted with appreciation the convening of the 2nd ASEAN-EU High Level Dialogue (HLD) on Maritime Security Cooperation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May last year, affirming that it serves as a platform to exchange best practices and experiences while addressing maritime-related issues and strengthening regional cooperation.

The two sides spoke highly of the growing dialogue and engagement between the EU and ASEAN on security and defence issues, including the EU’s active engagement in the ASEAN Regional Forum. They also emphasised the importance of further development of dialogues on security and crisis management as part of the effort to set up a roadmap toward an ASEAN-EU strategic partnership.

They also welcomed the increase in EU funding for development cooperation projects in the period 2014-2020, which helps promote ASEAN integration and applauded recent conclusions of the Financing Agreement on the Enhanced EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI).

The meeting also noted the EU’s decision to finance two new programmes on sustainable use of peatlands, haze mitigation, biodiversity conservation in ASEAN member nations, climate change adaptation, environmental protection and disaster management.-VNA