The Asian Voice

Strengthening partnerships to face challenges together: Jakarta Post contributor

The writer says France, Indonesia and the EU can take collective action to build a future for young people.

People wearing protective face masks wait for a train at a train station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov 22, 2021.
People wearing protective face masks wait for a train at a train station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov 22, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The strategic partnership that unites France and Indonesia is a partnership for the future. Together, our countries are fighting on the international stage to make Covid-19 vaccines a new global public good.

France is proud to have shared 3.7 million doses with Indonesia, for solidarity is our best weapon in the fight to end the pandemic crisis. Together, we are fighting very tangibly against climate change and for biodiversity, as shown by the 500 million euros (S$768 million) from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for the energy transition in Indonesia.

Together, we have immense economic and commercial potential to develop, as the 50,000 Indonesian employees of the 200 subsidiaries of French companies in Indonesia well know. Together, our researchers, engineers and creators have common projects in a world where innovation has become a priority.

To encourage these ties as early on as possible, we are going to double the number of scholarships for study in France granted to young Indonesians. Together, the world's second-largest maritime power and the largest archipelagic country in the world share responsibilities and opportunities, which will soon be discussed in depth during the Franco-Indonesian Maritime Dialogue.

Together, and with our Indo-Pacific partners, we can develop a pathway for cooperation that respects the sovereignty of each State and international law, while guaranteeing freedom of navigation at sea: the pathway of a multilateralism that shows that this decisive space, where 60 per cent of global gross domestic product will be made in 2030, is not condemned to suffer hegemonic temptations, bloc geopolitics and conflictuality.

As a nation of the Indo-Pacific, where almost two million of my fellow citizens live, France wants to be a link between this region and the European continent. For several years already, we have been working to strengthen the commitment of our EU member state partners to the stability, security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific.

The implementation of the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific will therefore naturally be one of the priorities of our presidency of the Council of the EU, which will begin in January. Indonesia, too, is preparing to shoulder great responsibilities, with its Group of 20 (G-20) presidency followed by its chairmanship of the Asean, which plays a central role in the Indo-Pacific. It can of course count on our support, particularly to rise to the challenges of peace, sustainable growth and protection of human rights.

Yes, together, France, Indonesia and the European Union can take action, today, to build the future we want for our young people. That is the message I am bringing to Jakarta this week.

  • The writer is French minister for Europe and foreign affairs. The Jakarta Post is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media organisations.