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Minister Thomas Byrne Addresses the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting

Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., today joined Ministers from all 27 EU Member States and 10 ASEAN members[1] to progress the deepening relations between the two regions. 

The ASEAN-EU 23rd Ministerial Meeting, hosted by Singapore, took place in a virtual forum for the first time due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

At the meeting, Ministers agreed to elevate the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Partnership to a Strategic Partnership. This agreement will further strengthen cooperation on economic, security and environmental issues.

Minister Byrne also welcomed a joint commitment to greater cooperation on connectivity, with an emphasis on sustainable infrastructure, energy, digital innovation, financing tools and transport:

“Ireland is a strong supporter of EU-level aviation agreements. An EU-ASEAN Agreement would preclude the need for bilateral agreements at national level with the ASEAN countries and would permit Irish airlines to fly from any EU Member State to any ASEAN Member State.

The connectivity statement also opens space for innovation and investment in green technologies for sustainable recovery.”

In his address, Minister Byrne welcomed the agreement on strategic partnership, emphasised Ireland’s commitment to multilateralism and an international rules-based order, while noting the need for cooperation and mutual responsibility in addressing the challenges of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and humanitarian crises.

On the distribution of vaccines to address COVID-19, Minister Byrne reiterated that:

“Our view is that nobody is safe until everyone is safe and Ireland is committed to the Team Europe approach which supports the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.”

Ahead of Ireland’s UN Security Council term of 2021-2022, Minister Byrne invited engagement by ASEAN members and committed that Ireland would listen to perspectives from individual countries in the region.


Press Office
1 December 2020


Notes for Editors

 [1] Association of South East Asian Nations: Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Lao PDR, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia.


ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting

The ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting is a biennial meeting between Foreign Ministers in the EU and ASEAN. The last meeting was held in January 2019 and was attended by Minister Simon Coveney T.D.


Global Ireland – Asia-Pacific Strategy to 2025

Ireland has set-out an ambitious strategy for the Asia-Pacific region which sets the framework for growing our political, economic and people-to-people relationships in the region. ASEAN and connectivity are both at the heart of this strategy. We are targeting €100 billion in two-way trade with Asia Pacific by 2025. This remains an achievable target despite the challenges of the pandemic. Trade with ASEAN will make a strong contribution to that target, supported by recent EU-Singapore and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreements which came into force in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The statement on connectivity recommits to the EU-ASEAN Trade and Investment work programme 2020-2021 and is potentially an important step towards a region-to-region Free Trade Agreement.


UN Security Council

Ireland has been elected to the UN Security Council for the term 2021-2022. Within ASEAN, two countries currently hold non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council: Indonesia sits on the council for the term 2019-2020, Vietnam will sit on the council with Ireland for one year of their 2020-2021 term.


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