The European Union recently launched a new Global Gateway program with a focus on “Sustainable Connectivity.” Under the program, the EU will strengthen co-operation and support higher education and research in Southeast Asia. This is a €10 bn (USD 10.7 bn) package for ASEAN countries until 2027. The package will focus on the green transition and “sustainable connectivity” in Southeast Asia.
The EU’s Global Gateway will be launched in 2021. It involves both “hard” and “soft” infrastructure, including corporations, higher education, and research, among the five main areas of focus, in particular for strengthening student and academic mobility in EU-ASEAN university networks. The other areas of focus covered under this scheme are digitalization and digital connectivity, climate and energy, and transport and health.
This global gateway scheme is about investing in people, creating opportunities for young people, and forming sustainable links. Jutta Urpilainen says, “We are highly interconnected and interdependent regions and economies.” Both the EU and ASEAN face global crises like climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising inflation, and understand the power of education and research in addressing such challenges.
This seven-year program focuses mainly on student mobility, scholarships, and exchanges between the EU and ASEAN. This initiative will also help in extending the role of universities in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in resolving global challenges, including building capacity within universities to enable them to contribute to the SDGs.
EU-SHARE is the predecessor of the Global Gateway “sustainable connectivity” program. EU-SHARE’s team leader, Darren McDermott, says, “The new package on people-to-people connectivity or sustainable connectivity proposed by the EU will certainly pick up where the SHARE program has left off.” He also adds that the Global Gateway is a fantastic initiative, which takes a flexible approach to the needs of Southeast Asia.