‘Leaders cannot be on autopilot mode’
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.