SINGAPORE: The two-day 20th ASEAN-European Union (EU) Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) ended in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday (July 23). Singapore was represented by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Ms Grace Fu.

At the meeting, the ministers unanimously conveyed their heartfelt condolences to the countries and families affected by the tragic downing of flight MH17. They also reviewed the progress made in furthering the ASEAN-EU relationship under the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to Strengthen the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership (2013-2017) and discussed ways to build on the strong level of cooperation between the two regions.

A statement from Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry said the ministers also emphasised the importance of developing connectivity between both regions, and welcomed the Joint Declaration on EU-ASEAN Aviation Co-operation adopted at the EU-ASEAN Aviation Summit in Singapore in February 2014. In addition, the ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Ms Fu met Member of European Parliament (MEP) Werner Langen and had lunch with key MEPs at the sidelines of the 20th AEMM. Former Rapporteurs for the EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (ESPCA) Reinhard Butikofer and Ana Gomes, AFET (Committee of Foreign Affairs) Chair Elmar Brok, and European People’s Party Group Coordinator on Foreign Affairs Cristian Dan Preda were present at the lunch. Ms Fu exchanged views on regional developments and strategies to further ASEAN-EU ties with the MEPs.

She also met with the Foreign Ministers of Latvia and Greece. With Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Ms Fu discussed suggestions to further bilateral cooperation in education. Mr Rinkēvičs also reaffirmed Latvian support for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA), in view of the Latvian EU presidency in 2015.

Ms Fu and Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos noted the warm relations between both countries. Mr Venizelos reaffirmed Greek support for the EUSFTA. – CNA/ac