Single title - Foundation Office Cambodia
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On 1 December 2020, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) elevated their longstanding relations to a Strategic Partnership. Previously organised in the form of a Dialogue Partnership, the two regional organisations stepped up their cooperation to emphasise their “shared values and principles of a rules-based international order, effective, sustainable multilateralism, as well as free trade” (EU-ASEAN 2021, 10). Not only are ASEAN and the EU the two most advanced regional integration projects in the world, but they also together represent over 1 billion people and almost 25% of global economic power. While economic ties have always been strong, certain asymmetries in the field of security and political cooperation remain (Páldi 2021). Thus, the Strategic Partnership presents an important opportunity for the two blocs to present their relationship as an important model for inter-regional cooperation, underlining effective multilateralism and their commitment to the rules-based international order in a global climate increasingly characterised by unilateralism, protectionism, and transnational crises alike. To do so, ASEAN and the EU will have to move beyond political statements by strengthening their ties in the political and security domain and producing concrete outcomes.