Singapore enjoys good relations with the countries of Europe. There are regular exchanges between our leaders, ministers, MPs, and officials. Our network of resident Embassies, non-resident Ambassadors and Honorary Consuls-General helps us maintain and develop links with European countries. Singapore’s relations with the European Union (EU) and individual member states are growing steadily across different 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. As a reflection of this interest, Singapore opened its embassy in Ankara, Turkey in July 2012. International Enterprise Singapore also opened an overseas centre in Istanbul in May 2012.
Singapore and its European counterparts cooperate closely in a wide range of fields, such as trade and investment, defence, education, arts, culture and heritage, transport, energy, climate change, science and technology, research and development, health and sports. On the economic front, Singapore acts as the hub for European business in the Asia-Pacific region. The German Centre for Industry and Trade, the German-Singapore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the UK-ASEAN Business Council, the France-Singapore Business Council, and the Nordic European Centre have been established to help small and medium European enterprises start up their operations in Singapore and the region. The Russia-Singapore Business Forum, which has been held in Singapore since 2006, continues to help forge business-to-business linkages between Russia and Singapore. There are more than 10,400 European companies in Singapore. Many use Singapore as their regional headquarters, logistics and distribution centers for the region. Collectively, the EU is Singapore’s largest foreign investor and among Singapore's largest global trading partners. The initialling of the EU-Singapore FTA and the EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in September and October 2013 respectively, and the eventual ratification of these agreements, will facilitate deeper economic engagement between Singapore and the EU.
Academic and student exchanges between Singapore and Europe are active, as are collaborations and exchanges among the museums of Singapore and Europe. European films, cultural groups, and artistes are regularly featured in the Singapore Film Festival, Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Biennale. An increasing number of Singapore cultural and performing arts groups and artistes are also making appearances in the great cultural venues and events in Europe.
Some examples of major agreements and exchanges are as follows:
Singapore-France Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership (signed during French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's official visit on 18 October 2012).
Update to the Germany-Singapore Enhanced Partnership entitled "Singapore and Germany: The Way Ahead" (signed during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit to Germany in December 2005).
Singapore-Russia annual High-Level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), co-chaired by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (established in 2010 as a platform for high-level political engagement and the development of broad-based bilateral cooperation in various fields).
Events and Exhibitions
NHB and the French Ministry of Culture jointly organised a “Malraux Seminar” in Singapore on 20 March 2012, which saw a broad exchange of views between French and Singapore cultural experts at a seminar entitled “Audience Development in Culture and the Arts”.
From 26 October 2011 to 5 February 2012, the National Museum of Singapore presented Dreams and Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing and Photography from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, as part of a collaborative effort with Musée d’Orsay.
Preservation of Monuments Board and the British Council collaborated to organise Musicity in October 2012, which featured seven locations in Singapore including three National Monuments (ACM, SAM & Hong San See Temple). Musicians from both Singapore and the UK (including Mara Carlyle and Jon Hopkins from the UK) composed original music inspired by our national buildings’ histories and architecture which could be downloaded by visitors to these buildings.
“Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein”, featuring 91 works by European masters from the High Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Biedermeier eras, was also exhibited at the National Museum of Singapore from July to September 2013.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was first initiated in 1996 to further cooperation between Asia and Europe. ASEM has 51 members. Our leaders regularly attend the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meetings and ASEM Summits. In 2013, Minister (Prime Minister's Office), Second Minister (Environment and Water Resources) and Second Minister (Foreign Affairs) Ms Grace Fu attended the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in New Delhi. The Asia-Europe Foundation, which was established under the aegis of ASEM, is also located in Singapore.
Singapore’s successful application for observer status in the Arctic Council (AC) in May 2013 provides a new dimension for our relations with the European Arctic nations, namely Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. The AC is a high-level governmental forum for discussing political, economic, environmental and scientific issues concerning the governments and inhabitants of the Arctic region. Singapore’s interests in the Arctic include: the protection of the Arctic environment; the development of a safe Arctic region; the economic advancement of the Arctic; and the development of human capital in the Arctic.
European Community in Singapore
Singapore hosts a large community of Europeans. They are well-integrated into the local community and their many contributions enhance the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of our country. Many European cultural institutions are also well-represented in Singapore, including the Goethe-Institut, Italian Cultural Institute, Alliance Française de Singapour and the British Council.
A list of major visits are as follows.
2013 Incoming Visits
State Visit of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (23 - 25 January 2013)
Visit of Guido Westerwelle, Foreign Minister of Germany (8-10 Feb 2013)
Visit of Daniels Pavļuts, Minister of Economics, Latvia (8 - 9 March 2013)
Visit of Zoltan Balog, Minister of Human Resources, Hungary (8 - 9 March 2013)
State Visit of HE Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of Belarus (20 - 21 March 2013)
Visit of the Estonian Foreign Affairs Committee (1-2 April 2013)
Visit of Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia (7-10 April 2013)
Visit of Villy Søvndal, Foreign Minister of Denmark (15 April 2013)
Visit of Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary and János Latorcai, Deputy Speaker of Hungarian Parliament (1 - 3 May 2013)
Visit of Sebastian Kurz, State Secretary for Integration, Austria (29-30 May 2013)
Official Visit of Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission (31 May - 1 June 2013)
Visit of Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden (1 – 2 June 2013)
Visit by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey (3 July 2013)
Visit of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Bruno Archi (23 – 25 July 2013)
Visit of Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia (28 - 29 July 2013)
Visit of Peter Norman, Minister for Financial Markets, Sweden (8 – 9 October 2013)
Visit of Ulf Holm, Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament (10 – 11 October 2013)
2014 Incoming Visits
Official visit of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey (8 - 9 January 2014)
Visit of Stephen Hammond, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport of the United Kingdom (5-12 February 2014)
Visit of Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the EU Commission and European Commissioner for Transport to the EU-ASEAN Aviation Summit (11-12 February 2014)
Visit of Arlene Foster, Northern Irish Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation as part of the Anglo-Irish Joint Trade Mission, (9-13 Feb 2014)
2013 Outgoing Visits
Visit of Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen to Munich, Germany for the Munich Security Conference (31 January – 3 February 2013)
Visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam to Turkey (3 - 4 January 2013)
Visit of Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs & Culture, Community and Youth) Sam Tan to Austria, Finland, Poland and Sweden (22 - 29 March 2013)
Visit of Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat to Denmark and Finland (7 - 13 April 2013)
Visit of Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen to Germany (22-24 April 2013)
Official Visit of Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob to Russia and Belarus (23 - 28 April 2013)
Visit of Minister (Prime Minister's Office), Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu to Spain, Portugal, and Ireland (5 - 10 May 2013)
Visit of DPM and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam to Turkey (7 May 2013)
Visit of Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan to Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden (19 - 26 May 2013)
Visit of Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs & Culture, Community and Youth) Sam Tan to Italy (8 – 12 June 2013)
Visit of Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong to Italy and France (14 – 22 June 2013)
Visit of DPM and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam to Russia (18 - 23 June 2013)
Visit of Minister for Law and Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam to Strasbourg (8 – 10 September 2013)
Visit of Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin to Sweden (16 – 17 September 2013)
Visit of Minister (Prime Minister's Office), Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu to Sweden and Finland (28 September – 5 October 2013)
Visit of Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs & Culture, Community and Youth) Sam Tan to the Arctic Circle Forum in Iceland (11 - 14 October 2013)
Official Visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to France and Poland (27 October - 1 November 2013)
Visit of Minister (Prime Minister's Office), Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu to New Delhi for the 11th ASEM Foreign Minister's Meeting (11 to 12 November 2013)
State Visit by President Tony Tan Keng Yam to Hungary and Slovakia (12 - 19 November 2013)
Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew’s visit to London, United Kingdom (22 November - 30 November 2013)
2014 Outgoing Visits
Visit of Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen to Munich, Germany for the Munich Security Conference (31 January – 2 February 2014)
Visit of Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah’s visit to Switzerland and Germany (10-16 February 2014)