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2nd EU-IDFR Diplomacy Course 2022: 45 Years of ASEAN-EU Relations and the Road Ahead

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IDFR’s Centre for Political Studies and Economic Diplomacy (PSED) in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Malaysia had successfully organised the 2nd EU-IDFR Diplomacy Course 2022: 45 Years of ASEAN-EU Relations and the Road Ahead from 26 to 28 October 2022. The three-day course was held via Google Meet with a total attendance of 53 officials. The course comprised senior-level diplomatic and government officials from ASEAN member states, which were from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant ministries.

The Indo-Pacific theme was chosen as it is one of the central common interests of the long standing ASEAN-EU partnership. The course aims to raise awareness of the recent initiatives, explore ways to leverage the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership in the evolving Indo-Pacific geopolitical landscape, and address concrete opportunities for cooperation notably in the field of maritime security and connectivity. Throughout the course, the ASEAN and the EU approaches in the Indo-Pacific region were addressed and the synergies in implementing their respective guiding documents were discussed.

The course commenced with the Welcoming Remarks from YBhg. Dato' Dr Shazelina Zainul Abidin, Director-General of IDFR and also Mr. Lukas Gajdos, Deputy Head of Mission, EU Mission to ASEAN. Under the theme of “The EU And ASEAN: Partners for Stability in the Indo-Pacific?”, the first day of the course discussed two different topics. Mr. Stavros Petropoulos from the European External Action Service (EEAS) had shed light on the topic of “The EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: What’s in it for ASEAN?”. For the second session, Dr. Gudrun Wacker, Senior Fellow - Asia Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs and Dr. Lay Hwee Yeo, Director of the EU Centre, Singapore has dissected the issue of  “ASEAN- EU Relations in an Era of Great Power Politics”.

The theme for day two was on “Maritime Security: Interests, Challenges and Prospects for Cooperation” where distinguished Subject Matter Expert such as Mr. Giovanni Cremonini, Head of Maritime Security from the European External Action Service (EEAS), has highlighted the topic of “The EU as a Maritime Security Provider”. The second session continued with a discussion on “Maritime Security Challenges in ASEAN” by Dr. Adina Kamarudin from the Department of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia and Dr. Christian Schultheiss from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Wrapping up the second day, Dr. Bruno Hellendorf from University College London (UCL) and Ms. Sumathy Permal, from the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) analysed the “Prospects for ASEAN- EU Maritime Security Cooperation”.

The theme covered for the final day of the course was on “Connecting the EU and ASEAN: The Way Forward”. Dr. Maaike Okano Heijmans, Senior Research Fellow, of the Clingendael Institute, the Netherlands and Dato’ Dr Mohamad Rameez Yahya, Minister Counsellor at the High Commission of Malaysia, Namibia discussed the topic of “The Global Gateway and EU – ASEAN Connectivity”. An interactive wrap-up session with the participants was held afterwards, moderated by Dr. Eva Pejsova from the Brussels School of Governance, Belgium, together with Mr. Harvinder Singh Ramday from IDFR.

The course was concluded with Closing Remarks from H.E. Michalis Rokas, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia, followed by H.E. Charles C. Jose, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Malaysia, and finally wrapped up by Ms. Nuryante Mohd Yazid, Director of PSED, IDFR.

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Prepared by:
Ms. Hanun Insyirah Ishak and Ms. Aida Yasmin Azhar
Centre for Political Studies and Economic Diplomacy (PSED)

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