Singapore, EU senior officials meet in Brussels

A meeting of senior officials from the European Union and Singapore was held in Brussels on Tuesday (June 20).

The meeting, at the European External Action Service in Brussels, provided an opportunity for an open and friendly exchange on a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including key developments in the EU and Singapore, bilateral cooperation, and regional and international issues, according to a statement.

Both sides stressed the importance of the prompt signing and entry into force of the EU–Singapore Free Trade Agreement, as well as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the statement said.

The senior officials also welcomed the clarity provided by the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the question of competence with regard to the trade agreement. According to the statement: "This agreement is a strategically and economically important agreement for both economies and will send a strong signal to our partners, both globally and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, on our commitment to trade liberalisation."

Both sides also discussed EU-Asean relations. The European Union welcomed Singapore's forthcoming chairmanship of Asean in 2018 and looked forward to Singapore's role as coordinator for relations between Asean and the European Union during the period 2018-21.

The meeting discussed cooperation in the field of connectivity, including progress in the negotiations of a region-to-region Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement between Asean and the EU.

Both sides agreed that regular consultations at senior officials' level were important in facilitating engagement and closer cooperation between the EU and Singapore pending the establishment of the institutional structure under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

The Singapore side was led by Mr Peter Tan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the EU side by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director, Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service.