DASE: The Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and ASEAN

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of the Southeast Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1979 to develop links with the ten member states of ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and with Association of Southeast Asian Nations - the ASEAN organisation itself.

Until 2004, the delegation also covered relations with South Korea.

The main objective of the Delegation - abbreviated as DASE - is to establish, channel and promote parliamentary dialogue with the national parliaments of the countries and with the ASEAN Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).

AIPA is the parliamentary arm of the ASEAN organisation. The European Parliament is an official observer to AIPA.


During the European Parliament's last legislative term (2009-2014), the ASEAN region witnessed considerable progress in its cooperation and integration. The EU supports this evolution, as a strong and prosperous ASEAN region serves the Union's interests.

Parliament's resolution of 15 January 2014 on the future of EU-ASEAN relations outlines the considerable progress the region had achieved, as well as a number of possible avenues for the future advances.

The most important issues discussed with ASEAN interlocutors during 2009-2014 concerned:

  • regional cooperation and integration,
  • democracy,
  • good governance,
  • the rule of law,
  • human rights issues,
  • EU-ASEAN trade relations,
  • regional security issues (including territorial disputes and relations with China).

In addition, the impact of the international financial and economic crisis, climate change, food and energy security and terrorism proved significant matters of discussion.

Recent highlights

In 2015, the delegation visited Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as the AIPA General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2016, it visited Thailand, and travelled to Singapore and Myanmar in 2017.

Trade and economic relations

In general, the Asia-Pacific region is critical for the operation of global value chains as well as for European economic interests. Strengthening the EU's presence in the region is therefore a key objective of the EU's trade agenda.

Respect for human rights is a key element of the trade programme, and forms an important part of the EU's relations with all the countries of the region.

All the EU's latest-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) include chapters on trade and sustainable development, as well as provisions on human rights and labour rights.

Trade negotiations with ASEAN member states are at different stages:

  • Negotiations are currently on hold with Malaysia and Thailand.
  • Talks are ongoing with Indonesia and the Philippines, and an investment agreement is being negotiated with Myanmar.
  • Discussions on two free trade agreements with ASEAN member states (Singapore and Vietnam) have been completed.

European Parliament's weight

The European Parliament's evaluation of these agreements - and of the political, economic and social situation in ASEAN member states - has gained more weight since the EU's Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, in 2009.

The treaty gave the Parliament both a scrutiny role and greater legislative power. The Parliament must now consent to the EU's international agreements.

This is true of any EU trade and investment agreement with an ASEAN country: in order for a treaty to enter into force, a majority of MEPs must agree.

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