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Jakarta Post

Jokowi's EU visit to focus on trade, intelligence sharing

  • Liza Yosephine
    Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 12, 2016   /  02:45 pm
Jokowi's EU visit to focus on trade, intelligence sharing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo speaks to Bulgaria Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov (center) accompanied by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi (right) after a meeting on bilateral relations at the State Palace on March 30. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will carry out a series of working visits to a number of European Union (EU) member countries this month to strengthen trade ties and intelligence sharing with the region, as well as four specified countries.

Jokowi will be the first Indonesian president to conduct comprehensive meetings with three EU leaders, namely European Council president Donald Franciszek Tusk, European Parliament president Martin Schulz and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Monday.

Additionally, the President will also strengthen bilateral relations on visits to Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. Retno  noted that it would be the first presidential visit to Amsterdam since President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid visited 16 years ago.

Jokowi's visit, from April 18 until 22, will specifically focus on economic ties and intelligence sharing, she added.

"The visit this time will strengthen traditionally strategic cooperation that Indonesia has with the European Union in the face of new global challenges," Retno said during a press conference on Monday.

In the area of economic relations, the President aims to expand the already strong economic cooperation that exists between Indonesia and the EU, continued Retno.

One of the concrete results to be achieved from the visit is the agreement of a number of business deals, although Retno declined to go into detail.

Jokowi will also lead a delegation from the private sector scheduled to meet with business people in the region to solidify said deals.

Citing recent statistics, the minister said trade with the EU in 2015 was valued at US$26.14 million, making the bloc Indonesia's fourth-biggest international trade partner, and with $2.26 million, its third-biggest investor.

In the area of tourism, Indonesia received almost 1 million visitors from the region last year, Retno said.  

Through the visit, Indonesia also aims to strengthen cooperation on handling extremism and terrorism with the region.

Two major European capital cities, Paris and Brussels, have recently been the target of major deadly terrorist attacks that have since been claimed by the notorious Islamic State (IS) group, and a similar attack struck Jakarta in January.

Jokowi will discuss intelligence  sharing with  EU leaders on issues concerning counterradicalism and counterterrorism, Retno added.

She reiterated Jokowi's insistence on a comprehensive approach that not only emphasized soft power, such as through cultural and religious methods.

Additionally, the visit will also be an opportunity to discuss migration issues, she continued.

Jokowi may bring up the results of the recent Bali Process, Retno said. The event  produced a set of consultative mechanisms for response to emergency situations deduced from lessons learned from the sudden influx of Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees last year. (rin)

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