Good morning,

Dear Ambassadors, Rectors, Vice Rectors, Dean and Vice Deans, esteemed students, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

As the first speaker today, first of all I would like to convey my highest appreciation and acknowledgement to the organizer of this event for arranging this seminar for Embassies from ASEAN member states in Bucharest to give a glance about potentials, diversities and opportunities of the ASEAN as a region.

I believe that this event will provide the very best prospect for all of us here today to learn new perspectives, as well as progress of the ASEAN Community to establish the One Vision, One Identity and One Community by the year of 2025. 


ASEAN was established in 1967 through The ASEAN Charter or Bangkok Declaration, consisted of 5 founding Countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines and Thailand.

Brunei Joined ASEAN since 1984, later the expansion of membership of ASEAN includes Vietnam in 1995, Laos in 1997, Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999.

The concept of ASEAN, as a Community, is built on three pillars, namely:

• The ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC),

• The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and

• The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

FACTS OF ASEAN : Geography

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is a group of ten member countries that encourages political, economic, and social cooperation in the region. In 2015 ASEAN tied together 646 million people and about 4.4 million square kilometers of land.

Today, the group is considered one of the most successful regional organizations in the world, and it seems to have a brighter future ahead. 


According to World’s Bank data, ASEAN, as a region, has contributed to 2,4 trillion US Dollars to the world’s GDP. Each member states has contributed to the amount of the total GDP as follows: Indonesia 867 billion US Dollars, followed by Thailand with 401 billion US Dollars, Malaysia with 312 billion US Dollars, Singapore with 287 billion US Dollars, The Philippines contributed 272 billion US Dollars, Viet Nam with 170 billion US Dollars. Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos consecutively contributed 59 billion, 17 billion and 10 billion US Dollars.


Connectivity in ASEAN refers to the physical, institutional, and people-to-people linkages that can contribute towards a more competitive, inclusive, and cohesive ASEAN. Greater connectivity supports the political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars of an integrated ASEAN Community.

The Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2010, MPAC for short, is a strategic document to guide actions to improve connectivity in the region. At the 25 ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw in November 2014, ASEAN Leaders tasked the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee to conduct a comprehensive review of MPAC implementation and formulate the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

Roadmap on ASEAN Connectivity consists of the concepts: 

a. Sustainable Infrastructure

b. Digital Innovation

c. Seamless Logistic

d. Regulatory Excellence, and

e. People Mobility 


The vision of MPAC is to achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of Community.

The connectivity is going to be achieved through the Roadmap on ASEAN Connectivity: 

Firstly is Sustainable Infrastructure, the strategies involved are to Increase public and private infrastructure investment in each ASEAN Member State, as needed; to Significantly enhance the evaluation and sharing of best practices on infrastructure productivity in ASEAN; and to increase the deployment of smart urbanization models across ASEAN.

Secondly, Digital Innovation, the strategies involved are to Support the adoption of technology by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); to Support financial access through digital technologies; to Improve open data use in ASEAN Member States; and to Support enhanced data management in ASEAN Member States.

Third, Seamless Logistic, the strategies are to lower supply chain costs in each ASEAN Member State; and improve speed and reliability of supply chains in each ASEAN Member State

Fourthly, Regulatory Excellence, the strategies involved are to Harmonize or mutually recognize standards, conformance, and technical regulations for products in key sectors; and to Reduce number of trade-distorting non-tariff measures across ASEAN Member States. 

And the last strategies in People Mobility are to support ease of travel throughout ASEAN; to reduce the gaps between vocational skills demand and supply across ASEAN; and to increase the number of intra-ASEAN international students.

People mobility

I would like to focus on the People Mobility aspect of the Master plan. Integral Visa Policy between member states of ASEAN agreed on the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Visa Exemption on July 2006 to exempt visa of ASEAN member states citizen to travel within the region of ASEAN.

With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, intra-ASEAN travel has boomed, a sign that endeavours to form an ASEAN community may bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47% or 34 million out of 73 million tourists in ASEAN member-states were from other ASEAN countries.

Labour mobility  

Restrictions on travel for ASEAN nationals within the region are largely a thing of the past. However, there are still opportunities to improve mobility in ASEAN. Opportunities include facilitating travel for tourists by addressing the lack of information on travel options and providing simpler mechanisms to apply for necessary visas. Additionally, there is an opportunity to strengthen skills mobility in the region and, where appropriate, by establishing high-quality qualification frameworks in critical vocational occupations, and to encourage greater mobility of intra-ASEAN university students.

ASEAN Member States need to rapidly develop their human capital and workforce skills. Today, 11 percent of ASEAN’s population, have no education, and roughly 60 percent have only primary education or lower. In Indonesia and Myanmar alone, there is a projected undersupply of 9 million skilled and 13 million semi-skilled workers by 2030. Recent academic research suggests that, based on current trends, more than half of all high-skill employment in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam could be filled by workers with insufficient qualifications by 2025.

In addition, skills gaps are a major driver of inequality and poverty in the region. Approximately 92 million ASEAN workers (roughly 30 percent of the region’s workforce) live on less than $2 per day.

Progress on freer mobility of skilled labor in ASEAN has been limited. Seven mutual-recognition arrangements have been concluded between 2005 and 2014, covering engineering services, nursing, architectural services, tourism, medical practitioners, dental practitioners, and accounting services, as well as a framework arrangement covering surveying.

Higher Education

To coherently standardize the competitiveness of skilled labor in ASEAN Region, There are notable developments in promoting deeper intra-ASEAN social and cultural understanding. The ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook (for primary and secondary schools) was developed in 2012, and ASEAN is now working on ways to promote utilisation of the Sourcebook, in addition to the existing supplementary materials on ASEAN studies in schools.

To enhance regional co-operation in education, ASEAN education ministers have agreed four priorities for education: (1) Promoting ASEAN awareness among ASEAN citizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education; (3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthening the ASEAN University Network.


The ASEAN University Network, or AUN, is an arrangement between 30 universities in the ten ASEAN countries. The AUN is composed of a Board of Trustees, or B.O.T, the participating universities, and the AUN Secretariat. The BOT has the task of formulating policies, approving project proposals, the allocation of budgets and coordinating implementation activities. 

The participating universities have the task of implementing the AUN programs and activities. When AUN was founded in 1995, it consisted of thirteen universities from seven countries. Due to the inclusion of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia in ASEAN, the network grew to 21 members. Non members from the region however, are invited as observers on a regular basis. 

The AUN Secretariat is involved in the planning, organization, monitoring and evaluation of AUN activities and also in the development of new ideas and the acquisition of funding. The permanent office of the Secretariat was established in 2000 and is located on the campus of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

There are opportunities for Romanian/EU/International students to participate in scholarship programs provided by ASEAN member states:

For Indonesia, the government provides two programs, namely, non-degree scholarship with the program of Darmasiswa (1 year) and BSBI (3 months), aimed mainly to Indonesian culture and language programs. The other programs is Master’s degree and Bachelor degree through Kemitraan Negara Berkembang, or Developing Countries Partnership scholarship.

Malaysia also provides the program of Malaysian International Scholarship for post-graduate and post-doctoral studies. Further information provided on the website as shown on the slide.

For EU students or University, there are Universities in Thailand linked to the Erasmus Program.

And the government of Viet Nam has signed the bilateral agreement with Romania to provide Scholarship for Bachelor, Masters and PhD program for 20 students every year.

The role of Youth

The ASEAN Youth Forum, or AYF, is envisioned to be a free and empowering platform for youths to voice out their concerns and strategize for ways to achieve a better ASEAN. AYF has been working regionally to strengthening youth movement, engagement with ASEAN, and civil society.  

Throughout empowerment and engagement towards a youth-driven Southeast Asia approach, AYF provided space for young leaders to discuss issues, dialogue with various stakeholders and define their destinies with respect to their issues and realities.

The role of Youth in Entrepreneurial

Several initiatives have been put forth by the member-states to actively involve youths in the formation of ASEAN Community with discussions made on matters that impact the people whilst affording them with platforms to cooperate on a multitude of issues that pertain to the region or the wider community. 

ASEAN Youth Entrepreneur Seminar and Expo, which provides a platform to enhance and support economic self-reliance and self-employment of the ASEAN youths. Aside from achieving economic objectives, summits such as the ASEAN+ Young Leaders Summit (AYLS) aim to bring together youths from various member countries to participate and lead in dialogues that advocate regional integration and cohesiveness on various levels.

The importance to enhance the Youth role in ASEAN to develop a cohesive and competitiveness in order to further materialized the One Vision, One Community and to assume One Identity.






- Established on 8 August 1967 through the Bangkok Declaration with aims of enhancing the economic growth and maintaining the stability and security of the region.
- Member countries - 10
- 5 founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
- Joined by: Brunei Darussalam (1984), Viet Nam (1995), Lao PDR and Myanmar (1997), Cambodia (1999)
- 10 Dialogue Partners: Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US.
- “ASEAN Way” - a sacred principle of mutual respects, non-interference in the internal affairs of one another and observe consensus in decision making held and practiced by Member States.
- Economic wise, if ASEAN were a single country, it would be the seventh-largest economy in the world.
- The block is set to grow to become the equivalent of the world's fourthlargest economy by 2050.
- Economic growth: economy expanded 4.7% in Q1 2017.
- Major trading partners: China, Japan, the EU and the US.

B. ASEAN-EU Relations
- The EU became ASEAN’s Dialogue Partner since 1977.
- An important milestone in the dialogue relations:
The adoption of the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action (PoA) to strengthen the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership (2013-2017) with aimed at providing a more strategic focus to cooperation between ASEAN and the EU in a wide range of areas – political/ security, economic/ trade and sociocultural. Currently negotiating on the PoA 2018-2022.
Mechanisms of engagement between ASEAN and the EU:
- ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting
- ASEAN-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting
- ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
- the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMCs) 10+1
The EU has appointed its first dedicated Ambassador to ASEAN on 17 September 2015, together with the establishment of the Mission of EU to ASEAN in Jakarta, demonstrated the EU’s commitment to deepen its engagement with ASEAN.
- The EU was ASEAN’s third largest trading partner after Japan and
ASEAN was the EU’s third largest trading partner after China and Japan in 2016.
- Total trade ASEAN and the EU: US$207.5 billion (2016).
- The EU remained the largest external source of Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) flows into ASEAN with € 23.3 billion (2015).
- the AEM and the EU Trade Commissioner endorsed the ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme for 2017–2018 aimed to enhance economic cooperation in addressing emerging challenges and capitalizing on opportunities for trade and investment between the two regions.

- Negotiations for a region-to-region FTA with ASEAN were launched in 2007 and paused in 2009 to give way to bilateral FTAs negotiations.
- On 10 March 2017, the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the EU Trade Commissioner have tasked the Senior Economic Officials (SEOM) to develop a framework encompassing the parameters of a future ASEAN-EU FTA, and to report back to the next AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations in 2018.

D. Challenges in ASEAN
- Diversity in foreign policy, economic policy, and security policy among the Member States.
- Lack of priority of ASEAN by national governments: comes from a lack of awareness and knowledge — both of ASEAN itself, and of other ASEAN states among the citizenry. People do not readily see how ASEAN impacts their lives, nor do they realise what potential it has to affect their lives for the better.
- Lack of the necessary physical infrastructure, roads, bridges and rail, for business and travelers to move through the region.
- ASEAN has had to deal with new problems that require collective coordination on issues such as cross-border diseases, transnational crimes, terrorism and non-state actors playing a much larger role in the world at large.
- Political
• Fragmented state of democratic development: the region’s different political values in regards to governance systems.
• Regressive process of democratization in the region
- Economy
•development gaps between and within members in income, human capital, institution, disparities in good governance and the rule of law
• disparities in population growth and population aging
• to further enhance the intra-trade among the Member States
• social diversity in terms of religion, language, ethnicity and culture
• the need to have a better understanding of what the differences are, how they can be lessened, and the commonalities that we can hope to achieve.
•a lack of a sense of ownership of ASEAN among our populations
• our citizens do not as yet identify themselves as ASEAN, unlike the citizens of the European Union (EU). No shared feeling of ASEAN peoples, that ―we are ASEAN, and ASEAN is us.

E. ASEAN and Globalization
•ASEAN still depends on other markets like Europe and the U.S. for exports. The smaller economies of ASEAN may be indirectly hit with a popular protectionist backlash in other parts of the world.
•Competition will be more intense in the business world. Whether the companies from ASEAN would be able to compete and survive.

F. Important milestone in 2017
•ASEAN will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year as well as its 40th Anniversary Dialogue Relations with the EU.



PRESENTATION by H.E. Mr. Tran Thanh Cong, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to Romania, on 

Tourism in ASEAN