In an effort to continue to raise the level of awareness of the identity of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Portugal, as well as to identify various cooperation areas between ASEAN and the European Union (EU), the ASEAN Committee in Lisbon (ACLP), in collaboration with University of Lisbon’s Institute of the Orient and the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE), organized a webinar entitled “Advancing ASEAN-EU Partnership” on 25 February 2021.
The President of the University of Lisbon’s Institute of the Orient Prof. Dr. Nuno Canas Mendes provided the webinar’s opening remarks where he cited the importance of understanding, reflecting on and analyzing the various dimensions of the 43 years of ASEAN-EU relations, through the perspectives of ASEAN diplomatic representatives in Portugal and the officials from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This was followed by the presentation of the Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Celia Anna M. Feria who gave an informative background on the historical timeline of the 43 years of ASEAN-EU relations, from the establishment of a dialogue partnership in 1977 to the elevation of a strategic partnership in 2020. “With the establishment of the strategic partnership, more areas of cooperation will be created and expanded, in a new chapter in the long-standing relationship between ASEAN and the EU,” said Ambassador Feria.
As a precursor to the discussion and to further understand the organizational structure and mandate on both ASEAN and the EU, Ambassador Feria, referring to an article written by Singapore diplomat, Ambassador Tommy Koh, presented the comparative insights on the various similarities and differences between the two regional organizations.
She also outlined, during her presentation, the various engagements of ASEAN with the EU within the framework of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community.
Also discussed were ASEAN and EU responses to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of both regions, strengthening relations between ASEAN and EU relations, and how the two regions complement each other following rules-based cooperation through various regional integration and connectivity initiatives such as digital transformation, cybersecurity, maritime security as well as trade and investment mechanisms.
The webinar is part of one of the ACLP activities for 2021 and was streamed live on ZOOM. Other guests to the webinar included members of the diplomatic corps, MNE officials and the academe (faculty and students of the University of Lisbon).