Indonesia and prospects for closer EU ties

09-10-2017

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities in foreign and security policy: like the EU, Indonesia is strongly supportive of regional integration, and its efforts to build south-east Asian consensus mirror the EU's common foreign and security policy. Climate change is another area of convergence, with strong commitments from both sides to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia shares both the EU's motto of 'unity in diversity' and its commitment to multiculturalism; thanks to a successful democratic transition, it has also moved closer to the EU's approach to human rights, although there are still concerns about the situation of some Indonesian minorities. Positive Indonesian perceptions of the EU and shared values are a strong foundation for the two sides to develop closer economic and political cooperation. Indonesia is an important partner for the EU both in its own right and as a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with which the EU aims to develop a strategic partnership.

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities in foreign and security policy: like the EU, Indonesia is strongly supportive of regional integration, and its efforts to build south-east Asian consensus mirror the EU's common foreign and security policy. Climate change is another area of convergence, with strong commitments from both sides to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia shares both the EU's motto of 'unity in diversity' and its commitment to multiculturalism; thanks to a successful democratic transition, it has also moved closer to the EU's approach to human rights, although there are still concerns about the situation of some Indonesian minorities. Positive Indonesian perceptions of the EU and shared values are a strong foundation for the two sides to develop closer economic and political cooperation. Indonesia is an important partner for the EU both in its own right and as a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with which the EU aims to develop a strategic partnership.