Singapore enjoys good relations with the countries in Europe. Aside from regular exchanges between our leaders, ministers, parliamentarians, and officials, our network of resident embassies and high commissions, non-resident ambassadors and honorary consuls-general helps us maintain and strengthen links with these countries. Singapore cooperates closely with the European Union (EU) and individual member states in a wide range of sectors. In recent years, Singapore has also expanded contacts and deepened relations with emerging economies in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Black Sea regions.
On the economic front, the EU is Singapore’s largest foreign investor and also among Singapore's largest global trading partners. The initialling of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) and the EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (ESPCA) in September and October 2013 respectively, and the eventual ratification of these agreements, will facilitate deeper economic engagement of the EU. Singapore is also a hub for European business in the Asia-Pacific region. There are more than 11,000 European companies in Singapore, of which many use Singapore as their regional headquarters, logistics and distribution centres for the region.
To open up opportunities in emerging markets, Singapore also signed the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (TRSFTA) in November 2015, and initiated the process to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) in November 2015. These agreements will bolster Singapore’s network of free trade agreements and benefit companies from both sides.
Academic and student exchanges between Singapore and Europe are active, as are collaborations and exchanges among the museums of Singapore and Europe. Singapore also hosts a large community of Europeans, and many European cultural institutions are also well-represented in Singapore.
Some examples of major agreements and events are as follows:
Events and Exhibitions
In May 2013, Singapore was admitted as an observer to the Arctic Council (AC). The AC, established in 1996, is a high-level governmental forum for discussing political, economic, environmental and scientific issues concerning the governments and inhabitants of the Arctic region. Our admission has provided a new dimension for our relations with AC Member States, namely Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
Our interests in the Arctic include: the protection of the Arctic environment; the development of a safe Arctic region; the economic advancement of the Arctic; the development of human capital in the Arctic; and climate change. As a low-lying island nation, Singapore is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels due to the melting of Arctic ice. In line with these objectives, Singapore has sought to identify areas of convergence between its capabilities and the work of the AC.
Under the Singapore-AC Permanent Participants (PPs) Cooperation Package, Singapore provides full scholarships for representatives from the PPs (representing the indigenous peoples in the Arctic) to participate in short-term courses on various aspects of public administration. Under the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP), we also provide full scholarships for students from indigenous communities to pursue selected post-graduate programmes at Singapore institutions, in fields such as Masters in Maritime Law, Masters in Public Policy/Administration, and Masters of Science in Maritime Studies.
Singapore also participates in a range of Arctic-related fora, including the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, the Arctic Circle Assembly, the Arctic Frontiers Conference and the International Meeting of Representatives of the AC Member States, Observer States and the Foreign Scientific Community.