EU increasingly treasures relations with ASEAN: scholar hinh anh 1Axel Goethals, CEO of the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) – The EU and ASEAN have maintained good relations so far, but the EU has begun to pay more attention to promoting relations with ASEAN amidst the current geo-political context, said Axel Goethals, CEO of the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS).

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the upcoming summit to commemorate the 45th founding anniversary of the EU – ASEAN ties, Goethals said ASEAN has demonstrated that it is a dynamic region, and the EU has signed two free trade agreements (FTAs) with two of its members, Singapore and Vietnam.

The impact of the recent disruption of the global supply chain has made the EU concentrate on strengthening its relationship with Asia, he stressed. 

Moreover, the tension between the US and China, and between the US and Russia, has affected global trade, forcing the EU to diversify its supply sources and expand trade ties with ASEAN through negotiating FTAs with other ASEAN member nations.

According to the scholar, the relationship between the EU and ASEAN is an essential partnership. The two sides steadfastly support multilateralism and a rules-based international order, and they are working to jointly protect shared values.

Goethals said that the two organisations share many similarities in terms of regional function. The EU’s economic structure is also similar with that in ASEAN countries and especially in Vietnam.

The Indo-Pacific strategy announced by the EU in September 2021 shows that the region, where ASEAN is the centre, is increasingly important to the EU, he said, adding that ASEAN is a key partner of the EU in implementing this strategy.

Goethals also spotlighted the significance of the summit, noting that several agreements will be signed between the EU and ASEAN, as well as between the union and ASEAN member states, on the occasion. 

Regarding Vietnam's role in the EU's cooperation relationship, Goethals said the signing of the EU – Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) has shown Vietnam’s dynamism in ASEAN, adding that this can be a reference model for other ASEAN member nations in FTA negotiations with the EU. 

The business environment in Vietnam is attractive to European investors thanks to the Vietnamese government's governance role and increasingly invested-infrastructure, he went on./.