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Indonesia president warns of Europe impact on Asia

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Europe's economic woes could hit Southeast Asia/AFP

JAKARTA, May 30 – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Europe’s economic woes could hit Southeast Asia and warned the region against copying the integrated eurozone model, in comments printed Wednesday.

Yudhoyono told the Wall Street Journal that the slowdown in China’s economic growth, stoked by weak demand from Europe, will “impact directly on the economy in this region”.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has set 2015 as the target for creating a single regional economic market, known as the ASEAN Economic Community.

But Yudhoyono, whose country has the biggest economy in ASEAN, said the region “has to learn from what happened in Europe”.

“I have a strong belief that we shouldn’t and we cannot imitate this structure, the character, of the European Union,” he added.

“We prefer to have, of course, more structure” and more closely coordinated policy, he said, “but we should not copy the eurozone model”.

Southeast Asian economies weathered a slowdown caused by the 2007/2008 financial crisis and are booming as the eurozone struggles to climb out of debt and contain rising unemployment.

Southeast Asia has a population of around 600 million and a gross domestic product of around $2 trillion, bigger that India’s.

Analysts have forecast Indonesia’s economy to grow more than six percent this year, as strong domestic demand buffers the nation of 240 million people from external shocks.

But the resource-rich country sells commodities such as coal and metals worth billions of dollars each year to China, whose slowdown has weakened global commodity prices.

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