EU: Leaders strengthen ties with ASEAN

Jakarta, 12 Feb. (AKI) - The European Union has announced a series of measures aimed at deepening ties with members of the Association of South East Asian nations (ASEAN). Among the measures is the accreditation of EU ambassadors to ASEAN.

The British, French, German, and Czech ambassadors to Indonesia were formally appointed representatives to ASEAN from their respective countries in Jakarta on Thursday. The appointment of other EU ambassadors is expected to follow soon.

ASEAN is headquartered in the Indonesian capital. However, EU diplomatic representation to ASEAN will be conducted as part of a "EU Troika", comprising the current EU presidency, the subsequent EU presidency and a delegation from the European Commission.

Individual EU member sates will maintain their own bilateral contacts. 

The European Union delegation in Indonesia has increased staff numbers in Jakarta and the European Commission is due to spend more than 50 million euros on development cooperation with ASEAN in the next three years.

Since the adoption of the ASEAN charter in December, ASEAN took the next step in its process of regional cooperation and integration. The charter reflects the commitment of ASEAN's ten member states to deepen their cooperation on political, economic and social affairs, along the lines of the EU.  

ASEAN is comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia.

As of 2006, the ASEAN region included a total population of about 560 million and a combined gross domestic product of almost 1,100 billion dollars.



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