EU-ASEAN News – June/July 2015

July 1, 2015 Comments (0) ASEAN, EU-ASEAN News, Topics

In the news this month

  • “Think Small First” for ASEAN: Europe’s SME policy
  • EU Copernicus – free and precise geo-information for ASEAN
  • Election Observation strengthens Democracy in the EU and in ASEAN
  • Transnational Crime requires Transnational Cooperation
  • Emergency Management Mechanisms: the EU and ASEAN keep working together
  • Networks of Excellence in Green Energy Research and Food Security Research work held back-to-back to the ASEAN Committee of Science & Technology
  • The EU-AATIP funds an innovative system to improve the air traffic management in ASEAN
  • An efficient on-line notification system in Lao PDR and Cambodia to facilitate trade in the cosmetic sector
  • A new problem solving facility for ASEAN Trade and Investment Issues



“Think Small First” for ASEAN: Europe’s SME policy

Bangkok, 21-22 May. The EU co-funded the 3rd Regional Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SME) Policy Network Meeting, organized by OECD and ASEAN Secretariat in cooperation with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia.

Andreas List, EU Senior Coordinator for ASEAN, presented the European Union work and experiences in the field of SME policy. Launched in 2008, the “Small Business Act for Europe” (SBA), is a soft law instrument which is widely considered the gold standard in SME policy practice. Its review in 2011 offered positive feedback as regards helping SMEs with access to finance, access to markets and lessening the bureaucratic burden. SBA’s principles are also valuable to assess ASEAN’s SME Policy Index. Generating a SME-friendly environment is essential, given that SME account for up to 95% of enterprises and are the leading job creators in ASEAN.

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EU Copernicus – free and precise geo-information for ASEAN

Phuket, 25 May. Copernicus is the new EU flagship programme, which offers satellite images and geo-information free of charge to users world-wide. The second of eight satellites has just been launched. The system provides figures on the state of the Earth, the atmosphere, the oceans and the land environment. This allows decision makers and civil protection authorities to have detailed maps to manage emergencies, natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

To invite ASEAN to benefit from Copernicus, EU Senior Coordinator for ASEAN Andreas List participated in an ASEAN Workshop hosted by the Committee on Science and Technology (COST). There is significant interest among ASEAN bodies and member states’ agencies to work with the EU as a trusted partner in space technology. As a follow up to the Phuket Workshop a dedicated meeting will be held in the next months, in order to clarify the technical details of this cooperation.

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Election Observation strengthens Democracy in the EU and in ASEAN

24-25 June, Manila. The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Elections, together with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) hosted a workshop in Manila on election observation (EO), an instrument which is widely recognized as crucial for democracy support.

So far, ASEAN has only conducted a limited observation mission in Myanmar for the by-elections in 2012. However, as the ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint mandates election observation, the theme has become essential in the region.

The EU is the EO market leader, apart from the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Euro (OSCE) and the Organisation of American States. Therefore the EU participated in the workshop with expertise and funding. EU specialists proposed options for an ASEAN election observation model and to strengthen ASEAN electoral management bodies.

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Transnational Crime requires Transnational Cooperation

Siem Reap, 10-11 June. ASEAN has a dedicated forum to discuss cross-border crime and terrorism, called the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime and Counter Terrorism. In its recent round of dialogue with this body, the EU advanced the implementation of the EU-ASEAN work plan. This plan comprises areas like piracy, border management, cybercrime, data sharing and the EU’s flagship Centres of Excellence on Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation. The CBRN for ASEAN is located in Manila, Philippines. ASEAN is currently contemplating a legally binding instrument on preventing the smuggling of small arms – an area where the EU experience could prove helpful.

10 June, Singapore. The EU and ASEAN launched an innovative border management project. Trade and the movement of people intensify, and so does the spread of international crime. Smuggling and trafficking of people, as well as the proliferation of narcotics and the use of counterfeit documents are a sad consequence.  All ASEAN member countries are members of Interpol, but there are currently no Interpol connections with front line offices – other than in Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore – and no joint control operations between two or more ASEAN countries. The newly launched EU-ASEAN border management project will confront these issues. In addition, the questions of migration cooperation and easing of visa requirements for ASEAN and non-ASEAN nationals will be discussed. The EU invests a budget of € 3.4 million in the project.

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Emergency Management: the EU and ASEAN keep working together

Jakarta, 3-5 June. ASEAN-EU Emergency Management Programme (AEEMP) organized a workshop on Regional Emergency Management Mechanisms and Cooperation, which followed up on the lessons learnt during the ASEAN representatives study visit to Europe in May 2015.

At the event ASEAN and EU compared their national and regional cooperation policies in emergency management as well as worldwide experience from counter terrorism to crisis communications and inter agency cooperation.

The event was attended by high level professionals from ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN’s Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Unit, as well as from the EU.




ASEAN Researches Green Energy and Food Security

Phuket, 21-22 May. The ASEAN Pilot Network in Food Security Research discussed applications for the participatory modelling approach on health. This technique copes with complex health challenges and elaborates comprehensive public health responses. Prof. Bruce Wilcox, eco-health expert at Mahidol University in Bangkok, outlined the history and core concepts of this system. The participants developed systemic major animal health-related challenges in their countries and outlined a Participatory One Health Modelling (POHM).

Dr Waraphon Phimpraphai of Kasetsart University in Thailand said “it is not easy to work on a regional ASEAN level. However, common challenges in different countries require us to collaborate.”

Phuket, 25-26 May. The Pilot Networks of Excellence in Green Energy Research (ANEGER), funded by the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI), held its final workshop in parallel to the ASEAN Committee for Science and Technology (COST). ANEGER coordinators presented the Network to the ASEAN COST Sub-Committee on Sustainable Energy Research and benefitted from presentations by two European experts on biodiesel and engine combustions, Prof. Mittelbach (Technical University Graz/Austria) and Christine Rousselle (University of Orléans, France).

“ANEGER is an excellent platform for knowledge exchange and the creation of opportunities for collaboration in fields far beyond the forms of the Network“, said Professor Dr. Bundit Fungtammasan, ANEGER coordinator at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi/Thailand.

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The EU-AATIP funds an innovative system to improve the air traffic management in ASEAN

Singapore, 28-30 April 2015. The EU-funded ASEAN Air Transport Integration Project(AATIP) organized a workshop on the use of the Simulation & Modelling system developed by ASEAN Member States with the technical assistance of AATIP experts and Eurocontrol. The representatives of ASEAN Member States and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recognized the essential role of the new system in enhancing the ASEAN Air Traffic Management systems and cope with future traffic growth in the region.

Yangon, May 2015. AATIP hosted its 5th Steering Committee meeting, which includes all members of the Air Transport Working Group (ATWG). During the meeting, the content of the work plan for the 3rd and last year of the AATIP implementation phase was approved.

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An efficient on-line notification system in Lao PDR and Cambodia to facilitate trade in the cosmetic sector

Singapore, 10 June. The ASEAN Harmonised Cosmetics Regulatory Scheme (AHCRS) requires suppliers of cosmetics products to make a notification to the regulators prior to placing a product in the ASEAN market. In order to promote the implementation of online notification systems, the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) led extensive discussions with the ASEAN Cosmetics Committee and successfully organized a study tour to Malaysia and the Philippines. These initiatives led to an offer by the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines to supply their notification software free of charge to Lao PDR and Cambodia. ARISE is now assisting the training of officers in these Countries as well as the installation of the online notification system, that will greatly enhance the efficiency of the regulators and benefit the suppliers by facilitating them in submitting notifications of new products.

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EU: Problem-solving made easy for ASEAN Trade and Investment

Manila, 30 May. ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) received the ASEAN’s Senior Economic Officers Meeting endorsement for its new ASEAN Solutions and Settlements for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) system. ASSIST is an internet-based problem-solving facility that provides a non-legal and non-binding mechanism capable of swiftly and effectively resolving operational problems encountered by ASEAN’s business community on cross-border issues related to the implementation of ASEAN agreements on trade of goods, transport, finance, investment, and services. ASSIST will be a natural add-on to the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR) and its regulatory transparency, aimed at facilitating trade, investments and economic integration across ASEAN. ASSIST will be accessible through the ATR, which ARISE has been supporting since 2013 and that looks poised to being formally launched by ASEAN Member States at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015.

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