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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  22 December 2014  

Brunei, EU close to deal on education
BRUNEI is a step closer to reaching an agreement with the European Union that could pave the way for more collaboration between universities and promote student exchanges, said an EU policy officer for Southeast Asia.
Brian Toll of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture said the two sides are “close to agreement” on the education aspect of the bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).
“The PCA will allow Brunei and the EU to create better links between education professionals and encourage the exchange of information and people (students, staff and other education experts), particularly by promoting each party’s schemes for academic mobility,” he said in an email interview with The Brunei Times.
Toll said that round five of the PCA negotiations took place in March this year.
In 2012, former top EU diplomat Catherine Ashton announced the launch of PCA negotiations after meeting His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting here.
The EU said PCAs provide a framework for dialogue and closer cooperation in various areas, including politics and trade.
Toll said Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the European External Action Service — the EU's permanent diplomatic mission in Brussels — usually co-chair the PCA negotiations.
Individual ministries and specific policy directorates-general of the European Commission are also consulted and may be directly involved in the discussions of articles on topics such as education and culture, he added.
However, the European Parliament must vote on and adopt the draft PCA resolution before Brunei and the EU can establish the agreement. The 751 EU Parliament members are expected to take into account Brunei’s human rights record before approving the PCA.
Under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, all cooperation and trade agreements with third countries contain a clause stipulating that human rights are an essential element in relations between the parties.
Toll further said that the next round of negotiations will take place next year, but no specific date has been scheduled.
“Completion of the negotiations will depend on the speed with which agreement on outstanding topics can be reached, so it is not possible at this stage to predict a time frame,” he added.The Brunei Times

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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