5th Edition of the EU-ASEAN Security and Defence Policy Seminar, Brussels, 28-30 June 2022
Last Thursday marked the end of the 5th Edition of the EU-ASEAN Security and Defence Policy Seminar, held in Brussels on 28-30 June 2022. The European Security and Defence College organised the seminar in collaboration with the EU Delegation to ASEAN and with the support of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU project ‘Enhancing Security Cooperation in and with Asia (ESIWA)’. This was the first such in-person activity organised since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it brought together more than 60 security and defence officials and experts from the EU and ASEAN. The event was an excellent platform for exchanging experiences and sharing ideas on tackling common regional and global security challenges. In her opening remarks, Alison Weston, Deputy to the Director in the EEAS Security and Defence Policy Directorate, Partnerships and Task Force NATO, highlighted the necessity to engage with regional security organisations such as ASEAN to meet the challenges of a quickly changing security environment in a very complex, connected and contested world. E. Sakal Nong, Ambassador of Cambodia to the Kingdom of Belgium, underlined how important it is to strengthen the relationship between the Indo-Pacific countries and the EU in order to be able to work together in the future. During the day, different speakers from the EU and from ASEAN delivered enlightening presentations on their perspectives. It was explained that the futures of the EU and the Indo-Pacific are inextricably linked given the interdependence of their economies and common global challenges. Day two focused on the thematic areas of maritime security and cyber security. Speakers elaborated on the different perspectives and threats facing EU and Indo-Pacific countries. The day concluded with breakout sessions in which participants were able to brainstorm and exchange views on the areas of cyber security and maritime security. Participants and subject matter experts agreed that more direct discussions are needed to reinforce the collaboration between the EU and regional organisations such as ASEAN, as well as different international institutions, to promote effective multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific region. On day three, the focus was on the EU and the ASEAN perspective as regards peacekeeping operations and crisis management. Speeches were followed by a breakout session during which participants had the opportunity to sit together with the thematic experts and express their views on how to undertake common crisis management and conflict prevention initiatives. The day finished off with reports on the breakout sessions and with the closing remarks delivered by H.E. Andri Hadri, Ambassador of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Belgium, Igor Driesmans, EU Ambassador to ASEAN, and Alison Weston, Deputy to the Director in the EEAS SECDEFPOL. Participants in the seminar discussed ways of deepening cooperation between ASEAN and the European Union to address emerging threats and were delighted to have been part of such a high-level event. The ESDC would like to thank all the participants and the speakers for their dedication to the course. Special thanks go to the EU Delegation to ASEAN and to the EU project ‘Enhancing Security Cooperation in and with Asia (ESIWA)’ for their strong support and collaboration during the organisation of the seminar.