Prabowo Subianto criticized the EU during a debate on Monday at a Jakarta think tank.
Responding to a question from Italian Ambassador Benedetto Latteri on future relations with the European Union, Prabowo – He has been the head of the Ministry of Defense since 2019 – said the West was applying “double standards” to Indonesia and other developing countries.
– We open our market to you but you don’t allow us to sell palm oil and now we are having trouble selling coffee, tea and cocoa. I don’t want protectionism, but I want equal rules – Prabowo asked the European ambassador.
The Indonesian politician added that he admires the achievements of Western civilization and its values. He mentioned justice, equality of citizens before law and human rights. He added that Europe will remain strong and rich, but the world is changing. – We don’t need the EU anymore – he insisted.
Threat of trade war
The European Union and Indonesia have been sparring over trade for nearly three years, and some observers believe the conflict could turn into a trade war.
Relations have remained tense since authorities in Jakarta introduced a ban on exports of unprocessed nickel ore needed by the European steel industry from January 2021. The European Union appealed the decision to the World Trade Organization. Officials in Jakarta also dislike the European campaign against palm oil, of which Indonesia is the largest producer, and whose production has been linked to deforestation and seasonal smog.
This year, the European Parliament adopted a regulation banning EU countries from purchasing forest products.
However, Indonesian officials say the EU is playing unfairly. In June Economy Minister Erlanga Hartardo criticized EU regulations on deforestation and the carbon tax, which may affect the Asian country’s metallurgical industry. He noted Actions by Europeans as “Regulatory Imperialism”. And negotiations to conclude a free trade agreement with the EU, which have been going on for seven years, suggested that under these circumstances it could take another seven years.
A new president in February
Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy – after India and the United States – with a population of nearly 280 million is set to hold a presidential election on February 14. A survey conducted by Indikator Politik Indonesia in October and early November showed that nearly 40 percent wanted to vote for Prabowo Subianto. Respondents.
Defense Minister Despite disputes with the European Union on Monday, he declared that his country wants to maintain good relations with all global players and its neighbours. He mentioned the US, China, India and Russia. He insisted that Indonesia should remain neutral and focus on economic development and not join any military camps.
Running against Prabowo is vice-presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka – the son of the country’s current president, Joko Widodo, who cannot run for re-election. A former governor of Java Island also registered their candidacy for the presidential election Kanchar Pranovo and former governor of Jakarta Anise Busved.