Towards an EU-ASEAN Digital Partnership?

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Publication Date February 2022
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In December 2021, the EU and Singapore launched talks towards a digital partnership agreement that could prove a building block for broader EU–ASEAN cooperation. This Report assesses the strategic value of increased cooperation in the field of digital connectivity, also acknowledged in the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy of September 2021, and considers the practical challenges and opportunities of stronger ties between the two blocs and their member states in this increasingly important realm.

The authors argue that three domains could form the basis of a future, shared, EU–ASEAN approach to digital connectivity: (1) digital infrastructure; (2) data governance and digital trade regulation; and (3) the digital economy and financial technologies (fintech). A bloc-to-bloc approach should run in parallel with strengthened ties by the EU and its member states with specific ASEAN member states.

Together, these building blocks will serve EU and ASEAN long-term interests, promoting economic competitiveness and inclusive growth, as well as openness, transparency and freedom in the digital realm.

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