Turkey, india, germany, Afghanistan, Japan, France, and Indonesia: HE Vincent Guérend, Head of Delegation, Ambassador of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, is a familiar face when it comes to work on Asian and European affairs through the French embassies—personal travels also add to his knowledge, as the seasoned ambassador likes the heritage, diversity, and architecture in the region, among many other things. “There’s a huge diversity within ASEAN, from each country’s development stages to the peoples, religions, country sizes, and many other factors, which is a bit similar to Europe’s diversity,” Ambassador Guérend said.
The richness and variety of cultures also apply to Indonesia, and are the strengths that help bridge the relations with European countries. Starting from positive cooperation and understanding based on certain shared values and the democratic systems, the two sides are supporting each other to help addressing global common challenges. “On facing terrorism, for example, both Indonesia and the EU have a long experience and have a lot to learn from each other,” he said. “There is an EU-Indonesia security dialogue where we discuss issues such as how to combat terrorism, or how to fight and prevent radicalisation.”
The EU-ASEAN Aceh Monitoring Mission in 2005, which followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is a good illustration of the EU-Indonesia security cooperation. Outside of counterterrorism and peacekeeping in general, security on the seas is an important issue, especially for a maritime country like Indonesia. “The sea needs rules that govern matters such as fishing, human trafficking, smuggling, drug trafficking, and many other issues,” the ambassador said. “Both the EU and Indonesia have unique experiences in this area, so we are increasing the cooperation on the capacity building and framework.” However, good infrastructure, skilled workers, and cooperative neighbours are needed to properly run a maritime security programme, added HE Guérend.
Building infrastructure needs funding, and many European countries are investing in Indonesia, especially in transport and renewable energy infrastructure. “We believe that those are long-term investments,” he said. “In Europe, replacing the current usage of fossil fuel to use 32 per cent of renewable energy is even more urgent now as we’re aiming to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.” He emphasised that although this is a feasible task, it requires a lot of work considering that Europe’s renewable energy usage is at 15 per cent today.
This story appears in the September 2018 issue of Indonesia Tatler. For the full story, grab the copy at your nearest newsstand, or subscribe here.