Today, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen attended the Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Paris. As the co-chair of the roundtable on Connectivity and Digital issues, Commissioner Urpilainen highlighted the EU approach which is sustainable, comprehensive, rules-based, and puts people first. The EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific adopted in 2021 identifies digital partnerships and connectivity as key priorities to generate sustainable growth.
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “Connectivity investment will not only help us to collectively overcome the negative effects of the COVID crisis, it will also contribute to establish a shared vision for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. With Global Gateway, Team Europe will offer long-term, trust-based and sustainability-driven partnerships to the region.”
The roundtable focused on the Global Gateway strategy, adopted by the European Commission in December 2021. It highlighted leading infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region, promoted the European model for personal data protection and discussed academic exchanges, especially in the area of science and technology.
Commissioner Urpilainen also gave a keynote presentation during the Forum’s closing plenary session. She underlined the action of the EU, which is already delivering development and cooperation funding through the Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs) on the priority areas reflected in the Indo-Pacific and Global Gateway strategies. The EU will promote sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based connectivity, including health infrastructure and people-to-people connectivity with bilateral programmes worth EUR 2.3 billion until 2024.
She also highlighted Team Europe flagship initiatives, pooling EU member states and institutions political support and financial resources behind common priorities and concrete deliverables:
- France, Italy and Germany, along with the EU have pledged support for the preparation of a Team Europe Initiative (TEI) to promote sustainable connectivity between the EU and ASEAN and within ASEAN in the fields of transport, energy, digital technology and by strengthening mobility and people-to-people exchanges;
- Support for the EU-ASEAN Green TEI. It reflects Europe's desire to strengthen its partnership with the region in areas such as climate action, environmental protection and biodiversity, transition to clean energy, disaster resilience, and prevention of illegal logging. Part of this initiative, the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) provides blended investment funds and technical assistance for green infrastructure projects in the region;
- Support for the Green-Blue Alliance for the Pacific and Timor-Leste TEI. Covering 18 Pacific countries and territories, this TEI aims to strengthen our partners' climate ambition and promote sustainable management of natural capital.
- Launch of the Asia-Pacific branch of the Digital4Development Hub, which is a platform that brings together European and regional governments, the European Investment Bank and civil society. This branch aims to provide a "one-stop shop" for European policies on digital development;
- Erasmus+ programmes and Marie Slodowska-Curie actions in the Indo-Pacific, which are the European flagship reference programmes to promote people-to-people exchanges, knowledge and skills.for strengthening human exchanges.
During the Forum Commissioner Urpilainen also held a series of bi-lateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of India, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indonesia, Retno Marsudi and Sri Lanka, Gamini Lakshman Peiris. The organisation of the Forum highlights the importance of the Indo-Pacific region for Europe, with the EU seeking to deepen cooperation and strengthen its partnerships with the region.
Global Gateway will support the deployment of secure and sustainable infrastructures, fostering the resilience of global supply chains, and strengthening the decision-making autonomy of the EU's partners.
The Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific - is organised in the context of of the French Presidency of the Council and brings together Foreign Ministers of EU Member States and some 30 countries in the Indo-Pacific region, representatives of European institutions and representatives of the main regional organisations. The meeting was co-chaired by Minister Le Drian and HRVP Borrell, this is the first time that an Indo-Pacific Ministerial forum meeting is held in such a political format.
Two roundtables took place in parallel to the roundtable on Connectivity and digital issues: Security and defence issues, co-chaired by HRVP Borrell and Minister Le Drian ; Global issues (climate, biodiversity, oceans, health), co-chaired by EVP Timmermans and Hon Nanaia Mahuta (MFA of New Zealand).
- Publication date
- 22 February 2022
- Directorate-General for International Partnerships