MANILA, Philippines - Closer security cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe has become more urgent in the face of common global threats, particularly terrorism and cyber-crime, according to a European Union (EU) official.
“Our world is in fact smaller and more connected than ever before, but divisions and contradictions happen to take place within our societies more and more and this is why it’s so important not to leave anyone behind in our work,” said Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission, in her opening statement yesterday at the ASEAN-EU Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center.
“This means that threats have gone global, sometimes disparities and inequalities have gone global, but also that opportunities have gone global,” she said.
Mogherini said ensuring the security and development of ASEAN countries would redound to the benefit of the entire global community.
Such cooperation, she added, should also cover other fields like trade, tourism, climate action and migration.
“If we want to reach the full potential of our partnership, we also need to continue deepening our cooperation on security. Europe and Southeast Asia face some common threats: cyber-crime and terrorism for example,” she said earlier before the ASEAN-EU meet.
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The annual ministerial meeting between the EU and ASEAN was the first of a series of ASEAN-related and bilateral meetings in Manila. Mogherini also participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum.
She stressed that “closer cooperation between security agencies would be important to ensure critical infrastructure was resistant to cyber-attacks and to counter extremism and terrorism.
“A network of regional organizations can contribute immensely to global peace and sustainable development,” she added.
“Today, every day we see that the interests are the same, as well as many of the challenges we face in our daily life so our cooperation is not only a well established reality, it is a necessity and the most logical thing to do for our people,” Mogherini said.
“We both need our commitment and our engagement. We need it to be close and constant but it is not only for us and our people, we believe this is also for the rest of the world that needs a true global multilateral system of governance especially now,” she said.
The world, according to Mogherini, needs the EU and ASEAN to stand together as strong and reliable partners.
“This is how we Europeans see our work with you, with ASEAN, this is about our common security and our common growth, but this is also about the present and the future of the entire world,” she said.