• Centre for ASEAN Regionalism Universiti Malaya (CARUM)
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International Symposium: EU-ASEAN at 45: From Dialogue Partnership to Strategic Partnership

Dec 07, 2022
09.00 AM - 05.00 PM
Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar Hotel

EU-ASEAN AT 45: From Dialogue Partnership to Strategic Partnership

Date: 7-8 December 2022
Time: 9am - 5pm
Venue: Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar Hotel


The European Union is one of the oldest and among the first dialogue partners of ASEAN. The two sides institutionalized their relations with the signing of the ASEAN-EEC Cooperation Agreement on 7 March 1980, which added value to their initial agreement signed in 1977. The relations were further elevated to - EU-ASEAN partnership in 2007.

In 2012, the EU became the first regional organisation to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) — an important milestone, boosting the EU's political and security engagement with the region. Further to that, on August 8th, 2015 (ASEAN Day), the EU established a diplomatic Mission to ASEAN and appointed a dedicated Ambassador and on December 1st, 2020, the 23rd EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting elevated the EU-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership to a Strategic Partnership. 

The EU and ASEAN share extensive and multifaceted relations.  ASEAN is assuming greater importance with the emergence of Indo-Pacific and countries putting ASEAN at the centre of their Indo-Pacific strategies. The EU’s Indo Pacific Strategy also acknowledges that ASEAN is crucial to the success of its engagement in the region. There are several reasons for the extensive relations between ASEAN and the EU. 

According to ASEAN’s statistics, the total value of two-way merchandise trade between ASEAN and the EU reached USD 268.9 billion in 2021, which grew by 18.6 percent, year-on-year, from 2020. The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow from the EU to ASEAN increased by 42.9 per cent in 2021 on a year-on-year basis and amounted to USD 26.5 billion, placing the EU as ASEAN’s second largest external source of FDI among all ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners in that year.

EU started negotiations with ASEAN for a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007. After negotiations were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six have begun talks on bilateral FTAs with the EU: Singapore and Malaysia in 2010; Vietnam in 2012; Thailand in 2013; the Philippines in 2015; and Indonesia in 2016. Negotiations have already been concluded and FTAs entered into force with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, in November 2019 and August 2020, respectively. Negotiations are under way with Indonesia, while talks are currently on hold with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. In the longer term, these bilateral FTAs would allow the establishment of a region-to-region FTA, which remains the EU's ultimate ambition.

Hence, this symposium is important for EU and ASEAN important stakeholders to share findings from and chart the next strategic steps for EU-Malaysia, EU-ASEAN engagement.

Programme Schedule

Last updated: 6 Dec 2022 - 2:54 pm

Day 1 (7th December 2022) - Wednesday

Time Item
9:00 am Registration & Refreshments
9:30 am

Inaugural Session:

10:45 am Coffee Break
11:00 am

Session 1: EU-ASEAN Relations: An Overview

As the EU and ASEAN are celebrating their 45th anniversary in 2022, it is important to take stock of their relationship and its different dimensions. This session aims to critically appraise the EU-ASEAN dialogue relations and its various facets.

  • Keynote Speech by Tan Sri Dr. Syed Hamid Albar, Former Foreign, Home, and Defence Minister, Malaysia; Chairman, World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation
  • Moderator: Tan Sri Jawhar HassanAdjunct Professor, Asia-Europe Institute, Universiti Malaya
  • Panellists:
    • Mr. Timo GoosmannDeputy Head of Mission, EU Delegation to Malaysia
    • Dr. Anggia Utami Dewi, Head of Internationalization Unit, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia
    • Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu, Adjunct Senior Fellow,  S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore
1:00 pm Lunch Break
2:30 pm

Session 2: EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges

With their strategic partnership agreement signed in 2020, it is pertinent to track the progress of this important milestone in the relationship between the two most successful regional organisations. Announced on December 1, 2020, the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership marks a watershed moment in the EU-ASEAN relationship. This session aims to identify potential opportunities and pitfalls in areas that are of critical importance in shaping and defining the EU-ASEAN partnership as also among their member countries.

4:30 pm Refreshments

Day 2 (8th December 2022) – Thursday

Time Item
9:00 am Registration and Refreshments
10:00 am

Session 3: EU, ASEAN, and the Emerging Regional Order: Navigating Strategic Anxieties

With the rapidly escalating Sino-US rivalry, coupled with the emerging Indo-Pacific order, all major stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region are recalibrating their respective strategies, policies, and practices to cope with strategic anxieties emanating out of the regional flux. In order to mitigate the threats posed by these strategic uncertainties, and find a position of strength in the region, both EU and ASEAN have come up with their own outlook/strategy on the Indo-Pacific construct and its various dimensions, while also trying to find a Modus Vivendi to smartly position themselves in the ever-so-complicated US-China relationship.

  • Keynote Speech by Mr. Kasit PiromyaFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand
  • Moderator: Dr. Kevin FernandezSenior Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaya
  • Panellists:
    • Dr. Seun SamPolicy Analyst, Royal Academy of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    • Dr. Maria Thaemar C. TanaAssistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman
    • Ms. Yanitha Meena LouisResearcher, Foreign Policy and Security Studies Programme, ISIS, Malaysia
12:30 pm Lunch Break
2:00 pm

Session 4: EU-ASEAN Ties: The Road Ahead

The concluding session aims to trigger a debate with the broader goal to provide a set of recommendations to bring the EU-ASEAN relationship to the next level and the role Malaysia could play in shaping these relations. It aims to do so by putting together perspectives from the policy circles including the diplomatic corps, academia, and the corporate sector.

  • Keynote Speech by Prof. Jomo Kwame SundaramSenior Adviser, Khazanah Research Institute; Fellow, Academy of Science, Malaysia, and Emeritus Professor, Universiti Malaya
  • Moderator: Mr. Timo GoosmannDeputy Head of Mission, EU Delegation to Malaysia
  • Panellists:
    • Prof. Dr. Andreas StoffersCountry Director, Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom, Hanoi, Vietnam; Professor of International Management, International University / SDI Munich
    • Dr. Claudine HaenniManaging Director, Bridging-Changes, Thailand
    • Dr. Rahul MishraDirector, Centre for ASEAN Regionalism Universiti Malaya (CARUM)
4:30 pm

Closing Session:

5:30 pm Refreshments