POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Brunei Darussalam attained independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. A week after achieving independence, Brunei Darussalam joined the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The country is a sultanate with the Sultan as Head of State, Prime Minister, Defence Minister as well as Finance Minister. The Sultan presides over a 10-member cabinet which he appoints himself. Five councils advise the Sultan on policy matters: the Religious Council, the Privy Council, the Council of Succession, the Legislative Council and the Council of Ministers (the cabinet). The system of government revolves around the Sultan as the source of executive power. Brunei Darussalam is a Muslim country, with a Ministry of Religious Affairs established to foster and promote Islam. The Constitution does, however, allow other religions to be practiced.
The Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Jakarta is responsible for fostering EU relations with Brunei Darussalam. The process of negotiating a new comprehensive EU-Brunei Darussalam Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) began in 2009.