EU and ISIS Thailand conclude public forum series with prospects for the way forward

Thais express appreciation to the EU for building bridges between government and academia

Cover - EU and ISIS Thailand conclude public forum series with prospects for the way forward

The EU Delegation to Thailand (EUDEL) has concluded its six-part series of public forums in partnership with think tank Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS Thailand). Started in September 2022, the talks – which have brought the EU closer to the Royal Thai Government along with academia, civil society, the private sector and media – raised public awareness around critical issues of mutual interest in Thailand and the broader region of Southeast Asia.

The sixth and last of the series, ‘The Prospects of EU-Thai Relations: The way forward under the new government’, took place on 2 October 2023 at Chulalongkorn University, with a diverse audience of 77 people including ambassadors and other diplomats from 20 missions of EU and ASEAN Member States, as well as other nations to Thailand.

The EU’s and Spain’s Ambassadors to Thailand, H.E. Mr David Daly and H.E. Mr Felipe de la Morena Casado joined peers from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), academics and experts in a panel discussion that surveyed the ongoing shifts and potentials of EU-Thai relations, as both sides navigate global and regional challenges such as Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and the crisis in Myanmar.

Ambassador Daly reflected on the EU-Thai relationship as blossoming now more than ever, describing Thailand as 'an important country in an important region' and key to the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.

The EU and Thailand have had over 60 years of diplomatic relations and friendship. Last December, this culminated in the signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which will establish a more structured framework for dialogue in diverse areas including research and innovation, as well as cybersecurity and maritime security. Negotiations are also under way for an ambitious, modern and balanced FTA, expected to sustainably boost trade and investment.

With assurance of the EU's intention to work closely with the new government, Ambassador Daly hoped for continued support on regional issues such as the Myanmar crisis in partnership with ASEAN and on global issues such as climate change and the environment, and peace and security at the UN.

Director-General for European Affairs at MFA, Mr Asi Mamanee, acknowledged the many areas in which EU and Thai interests align, such as on economic cooperation, security issues and technological advancement with partners such as Horizon Europe.

Over the course of one year, the EU - ISIS Thailand public forum series emphasised the EU’s long-standing and important relations with Thailand and ASEAN in the broader context of the Indo-Pacific. The first and second talks fostered dialogue that contributed to the proactive implementation of EU Indo-Pacific Strategy priorities, addressing the situation in Myanmar and the EU’s role against the rivalry between the US and China. The third – featuring the EU Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific – looked at the EU’s vision for a ‘shared future’ for multilateral cooperation with Thailand and ASEAN, while the fourth assessed one year into Russia’s war in Ukraine above and on the ground. The fifth delved into the implications of Thailand’s recent electoral outcomes on its foreign policy direction—a timely precursor to the last talk of the series.

EUDEL will continue to engage with partners and stakeholders in Thailand, and upcoming activities are regularly publicised via social media on Facebook and X.

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