‘Lead­ers can­not be on au­topi­lot mode’

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: Asia and Europe must have a re­cip­ro­cal re­la­tion­ship to achieve in­tra-re­gional peace and pros­per­ity that would trans­late glob­ally.

This year com­mem­o­rates the 40th an­niver­sary of re­la­tions be­tween the Euro­pean Union (EU) and Asean.

How­ever, both Asia and Europe have changed, and the lead­er­ship must not be on “au­topi­lot mode”.

“Both re­gions have prob­lems that defy na­tional and re­gional ap­proaches, but in­stead re­quire in­tra-re­gional so­lu­tions.

“This means that, in the fu­ture, ties be­tween EU and Asean must be re­cip­ro­cal in na­ture,” said for­mer In­done­sian for­eign min­is­ter Dr Marty Natale­gawa at the Asi­aEurope Con­fer­ence 2017 here yes­ter­day.

He said it was not only im­por­tant to think about how Europe could en­gage within Asia, but also vice versa.

“The Asian side needs a kick­start to im­merse them­selves in Europe, but in re­sponse, EU part­ners must also en­sure that their doors are open to us.

“In­stead of re­ly­ing on plans of ac­tions, treaties and meet­ings, changes in this re­gion re­quire states to es­tab­lish prac­tices and ex­e­cut­ing plans.

“We must em­power and cre­ate new prac­tices, even at the risk of fail­ure, be­cause the risk of in­ac­tion is big­ger.”

Am­bas­sador and EU del­e­ga­tion head to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fer­nan­dez, in echo­ing this, said geopo­lit­i­cal changes had de­manded a stronger Europe pres­ence in this re­gion.

“Asia and Europe have done a lot of things to­gether in many sec­tors and we are go­ing to in­ten­sify these ef­forts.

“Europe is more solid, and is­sues such as mi­gra­tion, cli­mate change and global trade re­quire co­op­er­a­tion with our Asian coun­ter­parts as we are fac­ing these is­sues to­gether.”

She said Europe planned to in­crease its pres­ence in Asia by deep­en­ing its de­fence co­op­er­a­tion and be­com­ing a global se­cu­rity provider.

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