Multilateral and Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region

European Strategy and Opportunities for Malaysia & Southeast Asia

With the introduction of its Indo-Pacific strategy on September 16, 2021, the EU seeks to strengthen its engagement and cooperation with Southeast Asian states, particularly in the maritime domain. Multilateralism and inclusiveness are the two key points stressed by the European states in the engagement in this region.


Multilateral & Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region: European Strategy and Opportunities for Malaysia & Southeast Asia
Multilateral & Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region: European Strategy and Opportunities for Malaysia & Southeast Asia

This hybrid event is a joint cooperation between Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) together with the Embassy of France in Malaysia, the Embassy of Germany in Malaysia, the European Union (EU) Delegation to Malaysia, and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Malaysia.


The EU and its member states have had a longstanding presence in the Indo-Pacific due to their investments and trade in the region. The EU is Malaysia’s fifth-largest trade partner, with bilateral trade reaching €35.2 billion (RM 164.6 billion) in 2020. Furthermore, the EU has developed strategic partnerships with the United States (US), China, Japan, India, South Korea, and, most recently, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 2020. The EU interacts with ASEAN and ASEAN member states e.g., through the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). A key interest of the EU is to uphold and reinforce multilateral and inclusive cooperation with diverse partners in Asia and to support ASEAN centrality in this framework. In accordance with the EU’s Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS), the EU also has a specific interest in the diligent adherence to and strict enforcement of international law with respect to the shipping routes through the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, especially respect for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as a comprehensive maritime regulatory and cooperation framework, the freedom of navigation enshrined therein being universal. This is all the more important as the security in the Indo-Pacific's maritime domain is currently beset not only by non-traditional security challenges such as piracy and armed robbery, maritime terrorism, and maritime cybersecurity concerns but also by maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea.


Therefore, the seminar hopes to foster better understanding of the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy, and the inclusivity it could offer in addressing common challenges and discuss ways of cooperation between ASEAN and the EU.

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