RI, Portugal encourage EU roles in SE Asia

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva agreed in abilateral talk to encourage the European Union (EU) to play a role in the Southeast Asian region.

“Indonesia and Portugal need to encourage the European Union (EU) to play a greater and more strategic role in Southeast Asia,” according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press statement here on Wednesday.

The bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, United States on Sept. 20, 2016.

According to the Indonesian foreign minister and her Portuguese counterpart, the cooperation between the EU and ASEAN in the economic sector is still very open and need to be improved.

This is because ASEAN is a market for 600 million population and the seventh largest economy in the world with a total gross domestic product GDP)of US$2.4 trillion. ASEAN is projected to be the fourth largest economy in the world in 2050.

In this connection, the two ministers assessed the importance for ASEAN member countries and the EU to continue to improve economic diplomacy, especially for economic cooperation between Indonesia and Portugal.

The bilateral trade between Indonesia and Portugal in 2015 reached 187 million US dollars. In addition, Portugal invested in Indonesia in the energy sector, property, film, mining and education.

Portugals total investment in Indonesia reached 500 thousand dollars for four projects. The number of Portuguese tourist arrivals in Indonesia in 2014 stood 17,675 people.

In addition to discussing economic cooperation and EU-ASEAN cooperation, the two ministers also discussed the process of the election campaign for the Secretary General (Secretary General) of the UN.

Both foreign ministers hoped that the electoral process that is currently underway would appoint a best UN Secretary who could fight for the interests of all UN members.

On that occasion, the Indonesian foreign minister also touched on the plan of Indonesia to nominate itself as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2019-2020.

Source: Antara News