On the 25th and 26th July 2018, the Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya organised the ASEAN-EU Dialogue with the theme Regional and Inter-Regional Economic Cooperation: Identifying Priorities for ASEAN and the EU. The EU-ASEAN Dialogue was organised by the Asia-Europe Institute as part of the yearly Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence activities.
The objective of the conference was to explore issues of regional and inter-regional economic integration and discuss possible solutions guided by distinct regional experiences and regional comparatives. The two-day conference consisted of two keynote addresses by representatives from the European Union and ASEAN respectively. Additionally, there were also four-panel sessions that evaluated contributions to regionalism and regionalisation and speakers presented their views from the perspective of Malaysia, ASEAN, the European Union as well as a comparative perspective. The conference was attended by almost 100 local and international participants from various backgrounds. A total of 22 speakers, including moderators, were involved in the conference providing their views and insights according to their corresponding panel topics.
The first day of the conference began with the welcoming address by the Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute, Prof. Dr. Azirah Hashim. She welcomed all the distinguished guests and participants to the conference. The welcoming address was followed by the keynote address by Her Excellency Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador & Head of the European Union Delegation to Malaysia on the topic Economic Integration: The EU Experience. The opening keynote was moderated by Ambassador (R) Dato’ M. Redzuan Kushairi. Thereafter Her Excellency Maria Castillo-Fernandez proceeded with launching the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya alongside the Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute, Prof Azirah Hashim and other attending Ambassadors from EU member countries.
The first panel session on the topic of Trade Liberalisation was moderated by Prof. Tan Eu Chye. The other panellist involved in this session were Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Kamal Mat Salih who presented from the perspective of Malaysia, Prof. Dr. Evelyn Shyamala presented from the ASEAN perspective, His Excellency Ambassador Eamon Hickey presented from the perspective of both the EU and Ireland and finally Dr. Rahul Mishra who presented a comparative perspective on trade liberalisation. The second-panel session on Sustainable Development and Income Equity was moderated by Dr. Sameer Kumar. Other panellists involved in this session were Assoc. Prof. Dr. Baharom Abdul Hamid who presented from the Malaysian perspective, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak from the ASEAN perspective, Prof. Dr. Corrado G.M.Letta from the EU perspective and Dr. Nurliana Kamaruddin who summarised the session by providing her views and insights from the comparative perspective.
The second day of the conference began with the third-panel session on the topic of Technology and Innovation moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aida Idris. Other panellists in this session included Dr. Ng Boon Kwee that presented from the Malaysian perspective followed by Dr. Cheong Kee Cheok on the ASEAN perspective, Mr. Roberto Benetello from the EU perspective and finally Dr. Sameer Kumar who presented based on the comparative perspective. The fourth and final panel session of the conference titled Labour, Service, and Talent Mobility was moderated by Dr. Rahul Mishra. This panel had five speakers that included Prof. Emeritus Datuk Norma Mansor who presented from the perspective of Malaysia, followed by Prof. Dr. Tham Siew Yean from the perspective of ASEAN, Her Excellency Ambassador Karin Mossenlechner who presented from the perspective of the EU, Mr Nigel Gibbs who presented from the perspective of the UK and Asia and finally Dr. Fumitaka Furuoka who presented based on the comparative perspective.
The day ended with the closing keynote lecture by Dr. Ahmad Zafarullah Abdul Jalil, Assistant Director (Monitoring, Surveillance Coordination Division) from the ASEAN Secretariat on the topic of Economic Integration - The ASEAN Experience moderated by Dr. Cheong Kee Cheok. The two-day conference ended with some concluding remarks presented by the Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute, Prof. Dr. Azirah Hashim as she thanked the participants for their attendance as well as the panelists for providing their insights on the various topics discussed. Overall it was indeed a successful conference that contributed to a lot of debate, discussions, and exchanges in regards to economic integration as experienced by the EU and ASEAN.
Prepared by Aaron Denison Deivasagayam