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Dialogue Program EU-ASEAN as Strategic Partners for Growth and Prosperity

MP Serap Güler's Visit in Thailand

Ms. Serap Güler Member of the Bundestag, CDU/CSU parliamentary group, travelled to Bangkok from 30 to 31 October to take part in a dialogue program at the invitation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Thailand. Ms. Güler is, inter alia, Deputy Chairwoman of the Bundestag's Committee of Inquiry into Afghanistan and a member of the Defense Committee. Within the latter, she also serves as rapporteur for Asia. The focus of her visit to Bangkok therefore lay on security issues in the areas of foreign policy and international relations, trade and business, elections and citizen participation.

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Ms. Güler’s program began with a briefing from the new German ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Dr. Ernst Reichel. They discussed current developments in the country as well as implications for bilateral relations, related to politics, security, and trade. Afterwards, Ms. Güler had a luncheon discussion with representatives of the EU Delegation to Thailand. They exchanged views on the recently revived negotiations on the EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as the challenges resulting from the new Thai government’s approach to international trade and the European ESG-supply chain regulations.


Ms. Güler continued her visit with an appointment at the Thai parliament, where she had a courtesy call with H.E. Mr. Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the National Assembly of Thailand (the Thai parliament). They discussed the longstanding relationship between Thai and German governments and legislators. Mr. Wan Muhamad underlined that the Thai parliament has recognized Germany as a valuable partner who has continuously supported democratization as well as social and economic development in Thailand and who generally advocated for increased cooperation between Thailand and the EU. Also, highlighting the important contribution of KAS Thailand Office in this regard, the President of the National Assembly apprised that the Thai parliament has adopted good practices of political communication and democracy promotion from Germany and applied them to the work of the parliament. One example constitutes the founding of the Thai Parliament Television channel to keep people informed about the dealings of the legislature. During the discussion, Ms. Güler acknowledged the increased number of young members of Thai parliament following the recent general election, which indicates the active participation of the youth within the democratic process.


After meeting with the Speaker of the House, Ms. Güler met with a group of Thai female MPs from various parliamentary committees. They mainly discussed the role of women in politics and in the legislative process. Ms. Güler congratulated them on the increased number of young female MPs in the Thai parliament, which reflects the growing participation of women and the younger generations in Thai politics. The discussion touched upon various topics and focused on those areas from which best practices from Germany can be shared, such as reducing education inequality, challenges in passing the marriage equality bill or introducing elements of social market economy in Thailand. Ms. Güler also addressed the issue of sustainability, for example, with respect to youth’s participation in building a sustainable world. She wished to see more exchanges and cooperation between young Thais and Germans in the future.


To conclude the first day of the visit, Dr. Céline-Agathe Caro, Director of KAS Thailand Office, held a dinner reception in honor of Ms. Güler. Dr. Caro thanked Ms. Güler for her visit, as Southeast Asia is still underrepresented in the German public discourse. Likewise, thanking the KAS, Ms. Güler underlined both the importance of her visit and that her Thai interlocutors expressed great interest in further exchanges with Germany. Among the reception’s attendees were representatives of the German Embassy, including the ambassador, as well as representatives of German institutions in Thailand, the media, and academia. During the reception, they discussed current local and international developments such as the recent elections, the priorities of the new Thai government and its reaction to the terror attacks on Israel, which affected many Thai citizens, as well as Thailand’s stance on recent political developments regarding China and Russia. Furthermore, they exchanged views on other topics such as renewable energies and potential Thai-German energy cooperation, as well as climate and economic security.

On the second day of her dialogue program, Ms. Güler had a meeting with Mr. Puntil Jongjittrakoon, the Vice Minister of Commerce, and his team, to discuss trade relations between Thailand and Germany. Both parties recognized the importance of economic transformation and diversification towards a greener, more transparent, and more innovative economy in order to generate growth and address the impending demands of climate change and the digital age. Both sides agreed that agreement on these shared goals represents the basic condition for negotiating an FTA between Thailand and the European Union. Ms. Güler and Mr. Puntil also agreed on the importance of SMEs in serving as the backbone of a novel, innovative, and diverse economy. Finally, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to work towards the successful completion of FTA negotiations between Thailand and the EU, convinced that it will be beneficial for both sides.


To conclude her visit in Bangkok, Ms. Güler met with Prof. Dr. Kitti Prasirtsuk, Professor of East and Southeast Asian Foreign Policies at the Department of International Affairs, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University. They discussed Bangkok’s positions on current challenges and global security issues impacting Thailand and the other ASEAN countries. Moreover, they talked about PM Srettha’s recent high-level meetings in New York and Beijing amid rising tensions between China and the US as well as several evolving crises around the globe.


After her stay in Thailand, Ms. Güler then flew to the Indonesian capital Jakarta to meet other decision-makers, experts and representatives of civil society. Overall, Ms. Serap Güler's trip contributed to an increased understanding of Southeast Asia, current developments in the Indo-Pacific region and the local perception of global challenges and security issues in the Bundestag.

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Dr. Céline-Agathe Caro


Head of the KAS office in Thailand +66 (0) 2 714 1207 +66 2 714 13 07


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