ASEAN and the EU have a strong partnership, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. To reflect on 40 Years of official relations so far and to reinvigorate for the future, the EU will host EU-ASEAN Strategic Thinkers Forum (STF) and Young Leaders Forum (YLF) in February 2018.
At the 21st AEMM in Bangkok it was agreed that an EU-ASEAN Forum of Strategic Thinkers would be held. The main task of the forum would be to discuss the possible evolution/ upgrading of EU-ASEAN relations in future. The European Parliament Resolution on political relations with ASEAN (2017/2026 (INI)) suggests that an ASEAN-EU Young Leaders Exchange Programme could be organised, to increase engagement from young stakeholders in the EU-ASEAN relationship. This should allow young leaders from the EU and ASEAN to exchange ideas and build relationships in order to support EU-ASEAN relations in the future. This concept note puts forward the idea that the two should be held together.
Representatives from ASEAN and the EU would meet in both forums to discuss the partnership of the two organisations and enhancing cooperation: this is also reflected in the recently adopted ‘ASEAN-EU Plan of Action’ which calls for the enhancement of cooperation in a number of areas, and sharing of experiences. (in particular point 3.1 (c) Promote Greater cultural understanding and awareness between ASEAN and the EU, as well as the exchange of experience and expertise on public policy in the field of culture.)
The forums would be held in the context of the 40th Anniversary of EU-ASEAN Official Dialogue Relations. The purpose is to “reflect” on 40 years so far and to “look ahead” and discuss ideas for strengthening/upgrading EU-ASEAN relations. Both forums would produce recommendations to be informally presented to the AEMM as a contribution to the Ministerial deliberations.
The objective of both forums is to discuss the topics of:
Political and Security Issues
Economy, trade, business exchanges
People to people contacts
and to spark dialogue on how to build on the foundations of the ASEAN-EU Relationship to upgrade it and enhance cooperation. Both forums will provide a platform for leading thinkers of the EU and ASEAN to come together and develop recommendations to the main themes. Both forums should promote innovative approaches and initiatives for advancing EU-ASEAN relations.
The Young Leaders Forum in particular should work to advance the role of youth in EU-ASEAN decision making, and share knowledge on EU-ASEAN cooperation from a wide range of perspectives.
Hosts and co-organisors
Co-organised by European Union and ASEAN