Daniel A. Fajri, Jakarta – Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has been outspoken about his stance on the European Union. He argued that present conditions have changed, and Western countries is no longer in control.
Prabowo made the statement during a question and answer session after a speech on his foreign policy at a forum organized by the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies Building, Tanah Abang area, Central Jakarta on Monday, November 13, 2023.
He responded to a question posed by the Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Benedetto Latteri on his view of Indonesia towards the European Union under his future leadership if is elected in the 2024 election.
Prabowo said he did not deny admiring the achievements of Western civilization over the centuries and the values it upholds, such as justice, equality before the law, and human rights. However, he is concerned that the West applies double standards, which is also a concern for developing countries.
"They will remain strong, rich, but as Pak Hassan Wirajuda said there's a shift in the world," Prabowo said. "We (Indonesia) don't really need the European Union anymore."
He claimed the statement was just a reminder as a friend. The European Union embassy in Jakarta has not yet responded to Tempo's request for comment on Prabowo's statement.
The European Union and Indonesia have experienced ups and downs in diplomatic relations as they are often involved in disputes, such as the lawsuit against Indonesia's nickel export ban at the World Trade Organization in 2020. The European Union imposed an import ban on Indonesian palm oil commodities because of its deforestation law.
"We open our market to you," Prabowo said, citing Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen vehicles as examples. "But you won't allow us to sell palm oil, and now we have problems trying to sell coffee, tea, cocoa," he said.
"I don't want protectionism, I want an equal playing field," Prabowo stressed.
At the forum, Prabowo said his foreign policy orientation would be good neighbor policy – being a good neighbor for countries in the region with a focus on the economy. He believed that Indonesia's strategic position would benefit not only Southeast Asia but also other regions.