Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia and the EU have managed to enhance their partnership against the backdrop of the post Covid-19 recovery and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

He said he believes that Cambodia and EU will remain committed to further strengthening their relations.

Hun Sen made the statement in a May 9 letter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, released on the occasion of Europe Day.

In the letter, Hun Sen said that when he thinks of Europe, he sees it not only as a constellation of nations, but also as a larger ensemble of countries which are friends and partners.

“In that spirit, it is worth noting that next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of Cambodia-EU relations,” he said.

The premier also expressed his profound appreciation to the European Commission, along with all EU member states, for their longstanding commitment to bringing peace, national reconciliation, and sustainable socioeconomic development to Cambodia.

“Against the backdrop of the post Covid-19 recovery and the ongoing war in Ukraine, Cambodia and the EU have managed to enhance our partnership by harnessing our collective efforts to strengthen multilateralism, as well as to deliver tangible outcomes for the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting [ASEM13] Summit, which Cambodia proudly hosted in 2021,” he said.

Hun Sen added that the resounding success of Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022 is also a strong testimony of the collaborative undertaking to address regional and global issues aiming at preserving peace and stability for the two regions.

“Cambodia looks forward to the 12th Cambodia-EU Joint Committee meeting later this year, and I firmly believe that both sides will remain committed to further strengthen our good relations for the mutual benefit of our peoples and nations,” he said.

“On the occasion of ‘Europe Day’, I, on behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, have the great honour and pleasure to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Your Excellency, and through you, to all the peoples of the EU member states for their good health, happiness and prosperity,” he added.

In addition, he also hoped the President of the European Commission would lead the EU towards better prosperity.

Cambodia hosted the ASEM13 under the theme “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth” in November 2021, via video conference. The summit was chaired by Hun Sen and attended by heads of state and high-level representatives of ASEM partners, the president of the European Council, the president of the European Commission, and the ASEAN secretary-general.

At the summit, Hun Sen noted that over the past 25 years, ASEM has proven to be a vital platform, connecting Asia and Europe and promoting the partnership between the two continents.

Moving forward to the next 25 years, he believed that the ASEM Partners need to double down on their commitment to more effective multilateralism, an inclusive and resilient post-Covid-19 recovery, and a more visible and robust ASEM in global governance.

Thong Mengdavid, a researcher at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, told The Post on May 9 that Cambodia, as a friend of the EU, did not want to see the Russia-Ukraine war, or the destruction that accompanies it. Cambodia has sent demining experts to Ukraine on humanitarian missions, but warned that if the war continues, the destruction will also expand.

“The EU should focus on the prosperity, stability and security of its people, especially the post-pandemic economic recovery. Nationalisation and war-like policies cannot benefit any country. Only by joining together in the spirit of multilateralism, peaceful negotiations and the building of mutual trust can we bring peace and stability back into the EU,” he said.