Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi urged for a stronger partnership between Indonesia and the European Union to face challenges in Southeast Asia and Europe in a speech delivered at a meeting between Indonesia and an EU Joint Committee in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday (28/11).
"Partnership is key in a networked world, no country can stand on its own," Retno said in her speech. "In an increasingly uncertain global politics, a strong Indonesia-EU partnership can be a strong foundation to improve the welfare of over 750 million Indonesian and EU citizens."
Indonesia and the EU are already implementing the comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) signed in 2014, which has already resulted in improved relations between the union and Southeast Asia's biggest economy.
These include taking three Indonesian airlines off the EU no-fly list; further discussion on the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA) and launching the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) License — practically a green light for Indonesian timber companies to export wood products to the EU.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union high representative for foreign affairs and security, who met Retno face-t0-face, highlighted the importance of accelerating IEU-CEPA negotiations, as the agreement will definitely open greater opportunities for trade and investment.
In reply, Retno said "Indonesia welcomes a second round of negotiations on IEU-CEPA in 2017," Retno said.
Mogherini also said she had the utmost respect for the way the Indonesian government has tried to maintain pluralism and harmony among its citizens, and that it can serve as a good example for a multi-ethnic Europe.
The EU will put this respect into action by launching a project in 2017 to study pluralism and religious and ethnic harmony in Indonesia.
Retno and Mogherini also took the time to discuss various regional and global issues, including the continuing conflicts in the Middle East, migration, terrorism and radicalism.
Both ministers agreed the challenges Indonesia and the EU are facing demand a stronger partnership between the two and an innovative management of Indonesia-EU relations.
"We hope this joint committee meeting can help identify new rooms for partnership between Indonesia and the EU, to solve bilateral, regional and multilateral issues," Retno said.