The European Union External Action (EEAS) on September 24 published a vacancy notice for the recruitment of a dedicated EU Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In its press release, the EEAS said this is an important decision, reflecting the EU's growing engagement with ASEAN and underlining its ambition to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.

The dedicated Ambassador to ASEAN, based in Jakarta, will coordinate the EU's expanding cooperation activities with ASEAN. He or she will represent the EU in all relevant negotiations, coordinate with EU member states and enhance public diplomacy efforts in relation to EU support for ASEAN integration, it added.

ASEAN brings together ten countries and 600 million people in a region characterised by strong economic growth but also by important political and security challenges. It plays a key role in building a rules-based regional architecture.

The EU and ASEAN are natural 'partners in integration', who share the same goals: peace, prosperity and democracy, the release said.

At the recent EU-ASEAN Ministerial on July 23 in Brussels, the Ministers underlined the importance of scaling up EU-ASEAN cooperation and agreed to step up collaboration to enhance connectivity between the two regions.

They welcomed the EU's commitment to doubling dedicated support for ASEAN's integration and institution building to 170 million EUR for the 2014-2020 period and decided to enhance maritime security cooperation.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, scheduled for October 16-17 in Milan, will bring together Heads of State and Government from 53 Asian and European partners, and will be a key opportunity to further strengthen Europe's ties with Asia, the EEAS said.-VNA