EU to propose $10.6 bln investment in Southeast Asia to boost ties, supply chains
The European Union will propose a $10.6 billion (€10 billion) investment package to countries in Southeast Asia as the European bloc seeks to strengthen ties with the region to diversify supply chains and rally support against Russia.
The investment package will be initially financed by public funds to support projects on infrastructure, energy, transport or digital, according to EU officials.
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The initiative will be part of the first summit ever between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Wednesday.
Leaders will meet in Brussels to forge a common approach to challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s assertive behavior in the South China sea.
The package is part of the EU’s Global Gateway, a €300 billion plan to counter China’s massive investments beyond its borders to secure supply chains and materials. European governments are seeking to strengthen relations with partners in other regions amid the geopolitical turbulence spurred by Russia and China.
The position of ASEAN nations toward Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was one of the most sensitive points in the run-up to the summit. The EU side is satisfied with the joint statement that leaders are expected to adopt as the text will stress the respect for the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine, according to one EU official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The plan will be bolstered by €60 million in grants from the EU budget, while member states, national development banks and the European Investment Bank will also provide grants, loans and guarantees. The private sector is also expected to support some initiatives.
The package includes projects such as hydro-power plants in Vietnam and Philippines or supporting the construction of a water treatment plant in Cambodia, the people said.
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