The 20th meeting of the ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 17 within the framework of activities to mark 40 years of the friendship and cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The two sides noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in ASEAN-EU cooperation and identified priorities for implementing the new Plan of Action adopted last April. They also agreed operational steps for advancing their cooperation in crisis response and disaster preparedness, maritime issues, migration and mobility, science and technology, higher education, human rights and enhanced capacity on mediation and reconciliation.

The EU looks forward to further cooperation with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Committee on Women and Children (ACWC).

The union reaffirmed its assistance to ASEAN’s efforts in the process of integration and connectivity, in the centrality of the association in the evolving regional architecture, and for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.

The same day, a signing ceremony was held for a contract on the EU’s 3 million EUR grant to help enhance the operational capacity of the ASE AN Secretariat.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh highly valued the two sides’ friendship and cooperation over the past 40 years and applauded EU’s support for the ASEAN Secretariat in particular and ASEAN member countries in general.

He stressed the achievements made in the 10 million EUR ASEAN-EU Programme on Regional Integration Support (APRIS) in the 2003-2010 period with the support from the EU, and the start of the 15 million EUR ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) project, in which 3 million EUR is for the ASEAN Secretariat.-VNA