The 22nd Meeting of the ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 5 during which the two blocs underlined their partnership’s special nature, future agenda, and impressive recent progress.

The event was co-chaired by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN Vu Dang Dung, who is also the Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations, Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the Southeast Asia Division of the European External Action Service, and Jean-Claude Boidin, Head of Unit of the European Commission Directorate General for Development Cooperation.

It was attended by members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and the EU, as well as representatives from EU member states.

ASEAN and the EU exchanged views on development in their respective regions. The latter welcomed the progress achieved in ASEAN integration and community-building and reaffirmed its support to the centrality of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture.

The two sides underlined the value of regular consultations between the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner to strengthen trade and investments ties.

ASEAN and the EU agreed on the Terms of Reference of the Programme Steering Committees, which will oversee the implementation and overall direction of ASEAN-EU Cooperation Programmes.

They agreed to enhance non-traditional security cooperation and organise the 2nd High-Level Dialogue on Maritime Security Cooperation in Malaysia during the first half of 2015, with a special focus on exchanging lessons on building effective regional cooperation and capability.

The blocs discussed the 2014-2020 programming cycle of financial support for ASEAN. ASEAN welcomed the EU's decision to substantially increase its resources allotted for cooperation with ASEAN from 70 million EUR (about 80 million USD) to 170 million EUR (194.6 million USD) through 2020. Future cooperation will focus on sustainable and inclusive economic integration and trade; climate change and environment and disaster management; and a comprehensive dialogue mechanism.

ASEAN also welcomed the EU's continued commitment to assist in narrowing the intra-ASEAN development gap, particularly the significant increase of its bilateral cooperation with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam from 607 million EUR (694 million USD) between 2007 and 2013 to 1.7 billion EUR (1.95 billion USD) between 2014 and 2020.

The EU raised the prospect of closer cooperation within the United Nations on the post-2015 development agenda and the establishment of Sustainable Development Goals in addressing global poverty and sustainable development as well as climate change.

The two sides discussed the decision of the 20th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting on developing a roadmap for upgrading their coordination to a strategic partnership and agreed to negotiate further at the ASEAN-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting in Brussels, Belgium later this year.-VNA