Following the entry into force of a ground-breaking Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Indonesia and the European Union aimed at forging a stronger relationship, many issues need to be tackled to further upgrade relations between the EU and Asia’s most populous Muslim majority democracy. Representatives from academia, civil society, the EU institutions, diplomacy and business got together to consider how the EU and Indonesia could develop a strategic partnership attuned to regional and global needs in the 21st century. Indonesia’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said there was much to pull the EU and Indonesia closer together, especially “in terms of our shared values, strategic and economic cooperation, and people-centred activities”, alluding to the numerous academic and civil society exchanges in force. Two closed-door sessions which focused on various aspects of the EU-Indonesian relationship were followed by an open public debate which looked at the upcoming Indonesian presidential elections, with senior Indonesian academics and economists underlining that the key issues in the polls were bread and butter ones, not foreign policy. Poverty alleviation, corruption and law-enforcement were top of the candidates’ agenda.

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