Blue Book 2017: EU-ASEAN Development Cooperation in 2016


by the EU Ambassador to ASEAN

The EU and ASEAN have a lot in common. Our shared history dates back for centuries and today, together, we represent the most mature and the most promising economies in the world. As we work together to address global challenges through a multilateral approach, we are both committed to regional integration as the most effective way to build stability and to reach prosperity. We are partners for the future.

The EU has a huge interest in the success of ASEAN and we are committed to supporting regional integration in Southeast Asia through community building, connectivity, and ASEAN centrality. We already have a strong relationship based on our mutual economic and commercial interest. Europe is the largest investor in ASEAN economies, accounting for a quarter of the total Foreign Direct Investment stock. It is not by chance that the EU is ASEAN’s second largest trading partner today, while ASEAN ranks third amongst the EU’s trading partners outside Europe. But we do much more than trading with each other.

We have a growing exchange flow of ideas, knowledge and technology, creating new opportunities and improving the lives of our people. More and more students and researchers participate in EU-funded mobility programmes, benefiting from studying opportunities at another ASEAN university. We also work together to support the protection of the rich biodiversity, peatlands and the environment in Southeast Asia, while combatting the negative effects of climate change and haze pollution.

All this, and more, is summarized in this 2017 edition of the Blue Book on EU-ASEAN development cooperation. It provides an overview of the main objectives, activities and outcomes of the cooperation initiatives that the EU and its Member States are engaged in with the ASEAN Secretariat, its institutions and other bodies in the region.

Covering also bilateral cooperation between the EU and all ten ASEAN Member States, this year’s edition is an all-encompassing overview of development cooperation between the two regions, as a special edition to mark the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of our partnership.

We have good reason to celebrate this year and I wish you all a happy anniversary!

Francisco Fontan
EU Ambassador to ASEAN