The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South East and East Asia and our partner, the Asia Centre, collaborated to bring vital discussions to the forefront. Our event ‘ASEAN-EU Relations in Light of the War in Ukraine’ was attended by over 150 participants in Bangkok, Thailand.
We were honoured to have distinguished speakers at the conference including His Excellency George Schmidt, German Ambassador to Thailand, and Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva, Former Prime Minister of Thailand.
ASEAN and the EU are facing the war in Ukraine and the coup in Myanmar. Both are geo-political and security challenges. In light of the War in Ukraine, the EU responded with sanctions. However, the response of ASEAN and most of its member states has been significantly vague and cautious; avoiding direct criticism of Russia. All except Singapore. On Myanmar, ASEAN is struggling to implement its 5-point consensus.
“The near failed state in Myanmar should be a wake-up call”, Johnathan Head, Southeast Asian correspondent for the BBC, said during the conference. “It threatens ASEAN itself”. The panellist agreed that it is imperative that ASEAN and the EU must prioritise and protect human rights.
It is more important now than ever to stand in solidarity for responsible leadership based upon the principles of democracy, freedom, rule of law, human rights and international cooperation.
Following the conference, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Asia Centre will present a paper, including recommendations, in the next couple of weeks, taking into the accounts the perspectives that were shared by our panellists.
*Sky Chatuchinda is the regional communication officer for the office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Bangkok, Thailand.