Aviation: Landmark EU–ASEAN agreement to connect 1.1 billion people – Modern Diplomacy

Today, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a comprehensive air transport agreement that will open up more air transport opportunities and enhance direct connectivity between the two regions, while upgrading rules and standards for concerned flights. The agreement will apply immediately. By setting global benchmarks that commit all 37 countries in the two regions to fair competition and to improving social and environmental conditions, it is the latest example of a new generation of international air transport agreements. The signing means new opportunities for consumers, airlines and airports both in Europe and in ASEAN countries.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “This first-ever ‘bloc-to-bloc’ air transport agreement brings the EU–ASEAN aviation partnership to a new level. It will support the aviation sector’s recovery after COVID-19 and restore much-needed connectivity to the benefit of some 1.1 billion people, enabling greater business, trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. It replaces more than 140 bilateral air services agreements, providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape. It also gives us a new platform to work jointly towards our shared commitment to economically, socially and environmentally sustainable aviation.”
Stronger connectivity and level playing field
ASEAN is a global economic powerhouse with a fast-growing aviation market. In 2019, it was the EU’s 9th largest market for freight and the 16th largest for passengers with more than 8 million travellers. Introducing a modern framework for air services between Europe and Asia, which opens up opportunities while ensuring high standards is therefore an investment in the future.
Today’s agreement provides for a level playing field and is expected to bring about new air transport opportunities and economic benefits for both sides:
It replaces more than 140 bilateral air services agreements, thereby providing a single set of rules and reducing red tape. EU Members States without any bilateral agreements with ASEAN States are now also covered by a modern legal framework.
All EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights from any airport in the EU to all airports in ASEAN States, and vice versa for ASEAN airlines. This will help EU and ASEAN airlines to compete with competitors targeting the lucrative EU-ASEAN market.
Airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services to or from each EU Member State, and any number of cargo services via and beyond the two regions, to any third country (‘fifth freedom traffic rights’).
The agreement includes modern and fair competition provisions to address market distortions.
Both parties also recognised the importance of environmental and social matters, agreed to cooperate on them and to improve their respective social and labour laws and policies.
In 2016, the Commission obtained authorisation from the Council to negotiate an EU-level aviation agreement with ASEAN. Negotiations were finalised in June 2021.
Similar EU comprehensive air transport agreements have been signed with other partner countries, namely the United States, Canada, Qatar, the Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova, Israel, Ukraine and Armenia.
Next steps
The agreement starts to apply from today’s signature. As a next step, the parties will launch the ratification process in line with their respective procedures to bring the agreement in force.
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Iran this week privately warned EU diplomats to abandon sanctions against Tehran over its handling of the protests, warning diplomats the move may rupture Europe’s ties to the country. 
“If Europe misses taking the nuances of the current situation into consideration, the ramification will be grave and the bilateral relations may not survive it,” warned one letter — sent to a group of EU ambassadors and seen by POLITICO.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday received a similar letter, also seen by POLITICO, from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. 
The EU is expected to soon hit Iran with penalties over its behavior toward rioters that have erupted following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
The letter sent to EU ambassadors implies that punishing Iran will “bear a detrimental impact on Iran-Europe relations,” which are already “at their most fragile at the moment.” It also deplores the “current Iran-bashing trends in Europe” and accuses “war-mongering factions in the United States” of “stoking the fire of conflict.”
Several European diplomats confirmed they had received the message from the Iranian ambassador. Borrell’s office declined to formally comment. Iran was not immediately available for additional comment. 
The U.S. has responded to the outburst with fresh sanctions targeting Iran’s morality police. The EU is now looking to follow suit, aiming to adopt a package of penalties at a foreign affairs ministers’ meeting on Monday. 
EU capitals have vowed to move ahead regardless of any Iranian pressure.
One senior European diplomat told POLITICO that Iran’s efforts were a “lost cause” since there is “very strong unity and momentum.” 
It was a message German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed last weekend. 
“We will make sure that the EU imposes entry bans on those responsible for (what she called) these brutal repressions and freezes their assets in the EU,” she told German weekly Bild am Sonntag on Sunday.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told French lawmakers she did not see “any difficulties ahead” for the EU to adopt sanctions on Monday, “despite the pressure exerted by Iran to cast our positions as interference.” 
The U.S. also chimed in to support the EU’s latest efforts. 
The letter to EU ambassadors came from Iranian Ambassador to the EU Gholamhossein Dehghani. 
In his missive, Dehghani states that an official autopsy found Amini’s death “was not the result of cerebral trauma or any other physical harm to the body.”
Still, Dehghani urged EU officials to consider Tehran’s side of the story.
“We expect Europe to assess the bilateral relations with the same sensitivity as we do,” he writes. “In this regard, heeding the official reports by the Government of Iran plays a key role.”
He also says Iranian police have been “obligated to deter and detain all forms and manifestations of hooliganism on the streets of different cities in Iran.”
He adds: “To aggrandize the ‘violence’ by the police will distort judgment and misguide policy-makers in the West.”
Dehghani linked the EU’s latest moves to the EU-brokered talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. 
“At this critical juncture, when there is a real shot at the revival of the JCPOA post-U.S. midterms, this is all the more critical,” he writes. The Iran nuclear talks are currently on ice ahead of the upcoming U.S. elections in November. The original deal lifted international sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict restrictions on its nuclear program. But the accord has been on life support since former U.S. President Donald Trump left the agreement in 2018.
The letter sent to Borrell, written by Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, echoed many of the same points. It says that Iranian authorities bear no responsibility for Amini’s death and argues the protesters have shown “a pattern of violence and terror.”
It adds: “21 police officers [have] been martyred and tens of them injured by daggers and weapons.”
“We and Europe might mildly or strongly agree or disagree on many issues, but this is always a two-way street, as in the case of restoring to measures of restrictive nature,” Amir Abdollahian writes. “Therefore, I strongly discourage both sides from entering into this avenue.”
U.S. says not focused on pursuing nuclear talks right now
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday that pursuing nuclear talks with Iran “is not the U.S.’ focus right now” amid protests in Iran.
“Our focus right now is on the remarkable bravery and courage that the Iranian people are exhibiting through their peaceful demonstrations; through their exercise of their universal rights to freedom of assembly and to freedom of expression,” Price said.
Tehran Times
Top business executives joined the UN chief on Wednesday to present transformative solutions for bridging the estimated $4.3 trillion-dollar financing gap for countries the reach the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the world’s agreed roadmap for a more peaceful and inclusive world.The Fourth Annual Meeting of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance, is focused on supporting developing countries on the road to meeting the SDGs, and it took place at UN Headquarters in New York amid a worsening global economic outlook brought on by war in Ukraine, climate change, and COVID-19 – all of which is threatening long-term investment, said a press release issued by GISD.
The large and persistent SDG financing gap must spur our collective effort to scale up private finance and investment for the SDGs. There is no time to waste. We cannot afford for the SDGs to fall out of reach,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The GISD Alliance — convened by the Secretary-General in 2019 — consists of prominent business leaders from across the world, including the heads of Standard Chartered, Pimco, Citibank and Investec.
It seeks to align, scale up, and accelerate finance and investment for the 17 Goals. The GISD Alliance is led by co-Chairs Leila Fourie, Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and José Viñals, Group Chairman of Standard Chartered.
“In the past year, building on pivotal work done in the preceding years, the GISD Alliance has focused on setting conditions for the scaling up of long-term private finance for sustainable development investment (SDI),” said Ms. Fourie.
“This was accomplished through the development of a credible definition for SDI, SDG-aligned metrics, a Model Mandate to assist in developing SDI strategies, making input into the development of a set of global sustainability reporting standards, and a roadmap for necessary MDB reforms.”
Mr. Viñals said that during the next 12 months, the Alliance would “continue to scale up these efforts and embark on new initiatives, launching a transformational blended finance platform that will allow for co-investment in sustainable infrastructure projects.
“We will also continue our engagement with global stakeholders to advance the reforms necessary to unlock finance and investment for sustainable development in support of the SDGs.”
To facilitate the flow of investments to developing countries, the Alliance is advocating for more effective private capital mobilization by multilateral development banks and the overall international development system.
GISD Members have made recommendations on changes to governance and business models of development banks and improved finance structures.
Since its launch, the Alliance has developed standards and tools to align investment portfolios with the SDGs, including a unified definition of Sustainable Development Investing (SDI) and SDG-aligned, sector-specific metrics that strengthen reporting and enable a credible comparison of SDG performance within and between different industries.
GISD highlighted the case of Aware Super, a pension fund based in Australia with  AU$150 billion in assets, which has now incorporated the SDI definition as part of its investment due diligence.
Most recently, in collaboration with the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the Alliance launched the Model Mandate, which provides guidance on the contractual relationships between asset owners and asset managers, with a focus on encouraging long-term investments that are aligned with the SDGs.
The GISD Alliance has also submitted a collective response to the public consultation of the International Sustainability Standards Board, established at COP26, to develop a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures for capital markets.
In addition, the GISD Alliance is moving towards launching the Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Platform (SIIP) which will allow multiple multilateral development banks and institutional investors, to co-invest in SDG-aligned infrastructure and scale investments up in emerging markets.
The UN chief convened the Alliance to find solutions to mobilize investment in the SDGs as part of the implementation of his Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Members control assets worth $16 trillion.
In a world where everything is fast and services are outrightly given, startup businesses need to create something that will attract the majority. Trivial or non-trivial strategies can make it more engaging while stirring interest from the public. Sadly, these business schemes or models might not be able to last for a year or so. 
Startup and tech industries have been in search of an effective and potential program for years now. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is constantly used by various startup businesses. The question is, what are the reasons that make this program plausible? Knowing what a startup business can be might help in understanding what SaaS development services can do.
What Is A Startup Business?
A startup business is a young company that has just begun its service to their target consumers. Basically, it is a company established by one or more entrepreneurs that aims to provide and create services and schemes. Here are the types of startups:
These are companies that do social works. For example, charities and non-profit organizations that aim to provide service to those who are in less unfortunate situations. 
Large companies have finite opportunities to develop since customers’ preferences in services and technologies change over time. Big business startups help in developing schemes that can help with what recent needs and services to offer. Thus, designing innovative products and services can be a good technique.
In a world where services and technologies are constantly changing, few startup ideas are available in the market for bigger companies to adapt and use.  Smaller companies create a business idea and sell these schemes to bigger companies.
People can earn a living just by doing what they love to do. They can create something out of passion thus a lifestyle startup will be in action. Online dance and singing schools are two perfect examples under this startup business. 
Small business startups are those businesses that are personally funded by the person himself. These are businesses that can grow slowly but have potential to be a big business startup later on. Grocery stores, salons, travel agencies, and rentals are few examples of this startup type.
Businesses under the technology industry often fall under this type of startup. Thus, technology has made it possible to receive and trace financial updates through various trusted sites. Companies often hire individuals to boost their abilities in search for new business schemes.
Reasons Why Startups Need SaaS Services
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) enables an individual to access a software over the internet rather than installing the application itself. The customer can simply log in to the account to secure the website and use it for whatever is available on the sites. Oftentimes, SaaS is being used in startup companies to have real time updates on various trends in services. Now, what are the reasons why most Startups tailors SaaS Services in their business journey?
Flexible and Scalable
One of the key elements of a company to last is its flexibility. Basically, as a business owner we need to be flexible and up to the latest trends to attract customers. SaaS applications enable us to choose out of the various models available on site. It can be easily changed based on the requirements we put in the software. This way, the process is much easier and integrating the new model to our system will be much faster. 
Moreover, with the SaaS’ flexibility we will be able to engage to a larger scale in the market or even in the cloud industry. Keep in mind that a scale is needed to manage monetary values and account in the various cloud sources.
Fast and Easy To Use
Selection and distribution of work applications usually takes a long time to be done. But with the help of SaaS, these two work issues are both a click away. Cloud applications deploy easily and distribution will not be a problem. SaaS creates an opportunity for every owner to receive quick responses from various websites. Thus, it can easily address the change that company longed for. 
Realtime Updates and Economical
Having realtime updates and the software applications used by the company will make things faster and productive. Our team can use the features directly after the update and will surely develop another business scheme that can be of great help to our latest products. Realtime updates are one of the reasons why SaaS Services is one great thing to have especially on startup companies.
Moreover, bringing down the cost and other monetary charges can drastically provide changes on the profits and proceeds of our startup company. A software-based application can bring a custom made business model that is a product of our own requirements injected into the software. Mainly, we can save a few dollars while our software can function easily without extra charges. 
Startups With SaaS Services
Startup companies that use SaaS Services can experience various changes in their distribution and production of services. Specifically, cloud-based transactions can be easily accessed with these various SaaS options.
Businesses are constantly in search of softwares that can provide data on recent trends and be able to handle cloud transactions. Startups that use SaaS will surely enjoy the benefits of such softwares. As for the above-mentioned reasons, SaaS can meet organizational security and performance that can benefit the company as a whole.
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