Sommaire: 11 July 2012, Phnom Penh - Remarks by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton at the opening of the EU-ASEAN post-ministerial conference
I am delighted to be here today, to build on the very successful EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting we had in Brunei just a few months ago. There were many foreign ministers that participated there and some that couldn't, but they know they missed a very good occasion and are looking forward to being in touch with you in the future.
We agreed in Brunei that relations were in good shape. After 35 years we now have a relationship that is mature enough that we can be ambitious and we discussed at our meeting how we could now move forward. The joint plan of action that we adopted in Brunei reflects very well the aspirations that we have.
It needs to reflect the ever growing links between us. Not long ago I signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with my dear friend and colleague from Vietnam and later today we will do so with the Philippines. And that's an example, an expression of widening engagement with countries of this region, also reflected in the work that is going on Free Trade Agreements.
I want to see us aim for the same dynamic that we have bilaterally in our EU-ASEAN relationship. My presence here today is intended to demonstrate our commitment to that. By looking forward to Vietnam taking over as the ASEAN coordinator for the European Union I know that you will continue the work to take forward our relations vigorously, building on the extremely good work done so far.
We support the centrality in the integration process of the ASEAN and the wider region and for the EU that's a guarantee that these relations will remain open and inclusive. More than anything I want the ASEAN nations to see the EU as a reliable partner. The decisions that have been taken recently at the European Council to address the financial and economic pressures in the EU are vitally important, not only for us, but for the world economy and in particular for the ASEAN.
We are committed to maintaining our work with all of you to building and developing this relationship in the future and I hope that in our discussions today and in the future we will be able to show the breadth and depth of this ongoing relationship. Thank you.