13-14 December 2013
NTU Executive Centre @one-north
Photo: EU Centre in Singapore
The EU Centre in Singapore, together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and The Asian Media Communications and Information Centre (AMIC), held a two day workshop for South-East Asian journalists and correspondents entitled “Reporting on Regional Integration and ASEAN” on 13-14 December 2013. The workshop sought to engage journalists on the issue of regional integration and examine regional integration process in the EU and ASEAN. Participants are also encouraged to share the difficulties they encounter when reporting on ASEAN and writing on regional community building. It also served as a platform for participants to discuss and reflect on the role of media in building a regional identity.
During the workshop, participants looked at role of external partners such as the European Union (EU) in ASEAN’s community-building efforts, and also discussed the experience of the Europeans and the EU in their stories and struggles towards region-building. ASEAN and regional experts from different background and sectors featured at the workshop, speaking to the journalists on some of the challenges faced by ASEAN in constructing an ASEAN Community by 2015.
One of the workshop speakers for instance, Mr Stefan Hell (Team Leader, Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument), explained the role of ASEAN’s dialogue partners, and in particular that of the EU in community building in ASEAN. Here, the EU’s support focuses on three sectors – economic cooperation, environmental issues and policy dialogue facility – through two major programmes, ASEAN Regional Integration Support (ARISE) and Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI). The abolition of mobile roaming charges within the EU to be realised in mid-2014, Mr Hell shared, is one notable area of the EU’s policy sharing with ASEAN.
A visit to the EU Delegation
Photo: EU Centre in Singapore
The workshop included a visit to the office of the EU Delegation to Singapore, during which the EU Ambassador, Dr Michael Pulch, spoke with the workshop participants in a dialogue session. After introducing his double-hatted role as a representative of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission, Dr Pulch articulated the challenges facing the EU – that of finding a new vision for the 21st century, in tackling unemployment in Europe especially among youths, and in balancing intergovernmentalism and the communautaire within the EU.
In this, what gives hope for the EU’s potential for transformation is how it has achieved peace on the continent since World War II, whereas interstate wars were a part and parcel of European history in the preceding centuries. A variety of topics from human rights, the freedom of expression, free trade agreements to the communication strategies of the EU and ASEAN were discussed between Dr Pulch’s and the participants.
Each participant will be filing a story in their respective newspapers and media outlets on what they would like to see or have as a symbol of the ASEAN Community by 2015. The stories and commentaries will also be compiled by the organisers into a booklet on “Understanding the challenges of region-building – ASEAN in 2015 and the role of media in building an ASEAN Community”.