European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will visit Indonesia from 9 to 12 March to attend the ASEAN-EU Foreign Ministers Meeting (AEMM), the Indonesia-EU Troika Ministerial Meeting and to visit the areas affected by the earthquakes and the tsunami of 26 December 2004, including Banda Aceh and the West Coast. The visit comes as the European Commission is preparing the programming of its €350 million post-Tsunami reconstruction package. In addition to the aftermath of the Tsunamis, the EU's discussions with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will focus on intensifying policy dialogue between the two organisations, and the EU's support for integration within ASEAN. ASEAN and EU will also touch base on a wide range of regional and international issues with a view to inform one another and where possible explore common approaches. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will also hold bilateral talks with senior members of the Indonesian government including Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Minister for National Development Planning Mrs Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and Minister for Justice and Human Rights Mr Hamid Awalludin.
Before setting off to the region, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "The world must not forget the terrible devastation the Tsunamis brought to South East Asia. The generous promises made in the immediate aftermath must be kept. Of the €350 million that the European Commission hopes to make available for post-Tsunami reconstruction I intend to devote over €200 million to Indonesia".
She added: "Europe and South East Asia are not just major trading partners. I look forward to discussing how our two regions can deepen this very important relationship particularly on non-trade issues from the fight against terrorism, to protecting the environment and combating the drugs trade. I also want to see how we can strengthen ties with Indonesia, and support it on its path to democracy, stability and prosperity".
The AEMM meeting in Jakarta on 10 March aims to consolidate and advance the partnership between the two regions, based on the EU's `New Partnership with South East Asia' (2003).
The meeting will take stock of existing co-operation, including in the fight against terrorism and organised crime; follow up the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting held immediately after the Tsunami; and consider possible new areas for co-operation based on a more modern policy agenda.
The EU hopes that building on the success of the dialogue on trade issues (TREATI), approval will be given at this meeting to launch a flexible dialogue initiative on non-trade matters (READI) to cover a wide range of possible issues including drugs, environment, migration, information society, education and transport.
The EU will underline its support for integration within ASEAN as the Association embarks on a challenging new agenda, to build an ASEAN Community by 2020, based on an Economic Community, a Security Community and a Socio-Cultural Community. If requested, the EU would be willing to support this process drawing on its own experience of regional integration.
EU-Indonesia Troika and Bilateral Meetings
At the EU-Indonesia Troika meeting, the EU will be represented by Mr Jean Asselborn Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, which holds the current EU Presidency, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, Mr Douglas Alexander UK Minister of State for Investment and Foreign Affairs, and a representative of the Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. Dr Hasan Wirajuda Minister of Foreign Affairs will represent Indonesia.
The EU will underline its wish for a stronger partnership with Indonesia. The EU welcomes progress made towards democratisation, and is ready to support the government's ambitious reform programme. The EU will also propose the opening of negotiations with Indonesia for a new Partnership and Co-operation Agreement. Similar negotiations have already begun with Singapore and Thailand.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will also take the opportunity to offer her support for the ongoing talks between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
For more information:
The EU's relations with Indonesia:
The EU & the Assoc. of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN):