The maintenance of peace and stability in Asia is an important factor not only for the protection of the Union`s interests in that region, including economic interests, but also for compliance with the international obligations and agreements on which the Union itself depends for its security, for example. B with regard to non-proliferation. It is therefore essential that the Union develops the capacity to play its appropriate role in the region. The Union has a long-standing relationship with ASEAN. There is a formal agreement between the EU and ASEAN (1980). The EU participates in the annual ASEAN Postal Ministers` Conference, which will now extend to the recently established Regional Security Forum (RFA). The ARF will meet for the first time this year. It covers most countries in Asia, with the exception of North Korea, and includes North America, the EU and Russia. In accordance with the very principle of ASEAN, discussions must be consensual and participants clearly want to avoid confrontational debates. THE EIB. In addition to its contribution to the balanced development of the Union, the European Investment Bank also finances investment projects in third countries. Since 1992, the EIB has extended its lending operations to the EIB.
Regions of Asia and Latin America on an experimental basis. The regime is open to countries that have a cooperation agreement with the Union. These countries have ECU 250 million per year over three years. In the first year of operation, ECU 100 million in loans were granted for projects in Asia. Bilaterally, this is the case with Japan (on the basis of an EU-Japan Joint Declaration), China (the last exchange of letters between that country and the EU), India (on the basis of the Joint Political Declaration of last December), Pakistan. An agreement in principle has been reached with Sri Lanka to start the dialogue, although it has not yet taken place. South Korea has requested a formalized agreement.  Due to the exceptional crisis caused by COVID-19, which required a rapid response from ASEM, ASEM Partners agreed to adopt the declaration in such a format on an exceptional basis.
We commend the considerable efforts made by ASEM partners at the regional level, in cooperation with external partners and the international community, in the fight against COVID-19, including the promotion of global resources for the development of new vaccines, treatments and tests at the required speed and scale, demonstrating the commitment to respond together to the pandemic. We also encourage asEF to continue efforts to strengthen pandemic prevention. We reaffirm the critical importance of ASEAN and ASEAN in coordinating the regional response to COVID-19 and note that ASEAN plays a crucial role in supporting stability, security and prosperity in the region and beyond. II.Existing EU policy instruments in their relations with Asia The policies and instruments set out in Parts II to IV are applied in a modular manner, which means that a coherent set of activities can be applied to different countries and regions in order to meet the interests of the European Union and its Member States. as well as the interests of partner and beneficiary countries. Although the ARF may over time become a general security forum for Asia, it is likely that subregional groups could emerge to address specific issues such as those in Northeast Asia. These subregional groupings may or may not operate within the framework of the ARF. The European experience gained in setting up and operating the CSCE may be of some importance in this respect. We note with satisfaction the report of the UN Secretary-General «COVID-19 and Human Rights».
Measures taken by governments in response to the pandemic should protect human rights, not undermine them, while focusing on saving lives and ensuring the safety, well-being and livelihoods of citizens. They should be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory, in accordance with international human rights obligations and national laws, and should remain in force only as long as they are strictly necessary. . . .