World

EU deepens ties with ASEAN,
appoints new envoys

New envoys: Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan (second right) poses with new ambassadors (from left) to ASEAN – Baron Paul von Maltzahn (Germany), Julian Wilson (Head of the European Commission Delegation to Indonesia) and Pavel Rezac (Czech Republic) – during a ceremony at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Thursday. The three Jakarta-based ambassadors submitted their letters of appointment to Surin on Thursday. (Courtesy of The Delegation of The EC to Indonesia)
New envoys: Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan (second right) poses with new ambassadors (from left) to ASEAN – Baron Paul von Maltzahn (Germany), Julian Wilson (Head of the European Commission Delegation to Indonesia) and Pavel Rezac (Czech Republic) – during a ceremony at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Thursday. The three Jakarta-based ambassadors submitted their letters of appointment to Surin on Thursday. (Courtesy of The Delegation of The EC to Indonesia)

The European Union (EU), the world’s most powerful regional organization, Thursday said all its 27 member countries and its executive arm European Commission (EC) will appoint ambassadors to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen relations between the two regional bodies.

“To deepen diplomatic relations, ambassadors from all 27 EU member states and the European Commission will be accredited to ASEAN,” the Delegation of the European Commission to Indonesia stated Thursday.

The governments of Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic, the EU and the EC Thursday formally appointed their ambassadors based in Jakarta as their envoys to ASEAN.

“[Czech] Ambassador Pavel Rezac and German Ambassador Baron Paul von Maltzahn met with the ASEAN Secretary-General [Surin Pitsuwan] to submit their letters of appointment,” the Czech Embassy’s deputy head of mission Martin Kubecek told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Head of the EC Delegation to Indonesia Ambassador Julian Wilson and Finland’s Ambassador to Indonesia Antti Koistinen also submitted their letters of appointment.

Britain and France have already appointed their ambassadors to ASEAN. The remaining EU members will appoint their envoys soon.

With the adoption of the historic ASEAN Charter, the ten-member regional organization is now not only a legally binding organization but also poised to advance regional cooperation and integration.

The EU, which also follows a similar path of regional integration, welcomed the new era in ASEAN’s development.

“To show its continued commitment of support and partnership with ASEAN in this new phase,
the EU has now upgraded its diplomatic relations with ASEAN, expanded its development cooperation to ASEAN and strengthened its Jakarta-based team to help manage this expanded relationship,” the EC delegation said.

The EC will also provide more than 50 million euro in the next three years to ASEAN to help realize the latter’s goals has spelled out in the Charter.

Meanwhile, an official from the EC Delegation said the Commission has also appointed Jan-Willem Blankert as a special adviser for ASEAN affairs to strengthen the enhanced relationship between the two organizations. Blankert is based in Jakarta.

Surin welcomed the appointments of Czech, Finnish, Germany and the EC ambassadors as well
as the upgrading of relations with the EU.

“We appreciate the European Union’s move to further deepen relations with ASEAN following the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter on Dec. 15, 2008. It reflects the EU’s commitment to engage ASEAN on all levels. The accreditation of ambassadors from all 27 EU member states and the EC to ASEAN will serve to strengthen the links between the two regions politically, economically and culturally,” Surin said in a statement Thursday.

The EU’s diplomatic representation to ASEAN will be conducted by a in a troika comprising the current EU presidency, the incoming EU presidency (Sweden) and the EC.

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