EU welcomes ASEAN plan for single market

MANILA, Aug 1, 2007 (AFP) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Wednesday welcomed Southeast Asia’s plans to create a single market by 2015. Speaking at an Asian security summit in the Philippines, Solana said Europe was following “with the greatest interest” the plans of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“We think it is very important not only for ASEAN but for the region and the world,” he said.

The 10-nation ASEAN bloc, which with nearly 600 million people accounts for almost 10 percent of the world’s population, moved forward its target date for a single market from 2020 to 2015 earlier this year. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.