The eighth Asia-Europe Meeting will be held in Brussels on 4–5 October 2010. The European Union remains committed to pursuing its collaboration with Asia and to strengthening its partnership with ASEM member countries.
At the summit, the EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
The overarching theme of the summit is how to ensure greater prosperity and more dignity for all citizens, in short, “Quality of Life”. The other very important subject is advancing on the path of sustainable development. EU-ASEM leaders will address this issue during their second session.
The work will start on Monday 4 October with the subject identified as priority number one, moving towards more effective global financial and economic governance. A separate declaration entitled “Towards more effective global economic governance” is expected to be adopted at the end of the summit.
During the third session, EU-ASEM leaders will discuss global issues of great concern to their populations. These include the fight against terrorism and organized crime, the elimination of acts of piracy at sea and the reversal of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery systems.
The fourth topic on the agenda is regional issues. Leaders will exchange views on the regional cooperation mechanisms and integration efforts that take place in their respective parts of the Eurasian continent. They will also discuss developments and security issues of concern to ASEM partners such as Iran, Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, or the Middle East peace process.
ASEM 8 will also present an opportunity to further boost exchanges among European and Asian civil society representatives and leaders. On the sidelines of the summit, a parliamentary partnership meeting, a business forum, a people’s forum and a civil society event will take place.
Finally, conclusions are expected to be adopted from the expansion of ASEM from the original 26 founders to now 48 members.
Asia-Europe Meeting is a forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia which involves virtually the whole of the two continents. The 48 ASEM partners represent half of the world’s GDP, almost 60% of the world’s population and 60% of global trade.
ASEM is open and inclusive – both inclusive of new members like Australia, New Zealand and Russia this year; and inclusive of new issues for discussion, such as one example at this year’s summit, cooperation against “piracy at sea.”
ASEM complements and does not replace Europe’s bilateral relations and negotiations with Asian countries. As one of the four ‘coordinators’ of ASEM, the European Commission underpins the process.
ASEM Dialogue Facility
Euro 1 million per annum of EU funds support the ASEM Dialogue Facility, which started in 2008 to help the ASEM process in few priority areas, originally four: economic and financial matters, employment and social policy, environment, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Additional sectors have been added following the development of ASEM process such as development cooperation, information technology and maritime affairs. The Facility funds conferences, studies and visibility actions. Its 3rd phase (2011–2012) will start in the coming weeks.
Trans-Eurasia Information Network
One key achievement of ASEM is the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) the first large-scale research and education network connecting regional researchers in Asia and Europe. TEIN has become a truly integrative platform across Asia and Europe – going well beyond its initial research and education objective. The third generation of the TEIN (TEIN3) provides a dedicated high-capacity Internet network for research and education communities across Asia-Pacific. TEIN3 already connects researchers and academics in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. Bangladesh, Bhutan and Cambodia are in the process of getting connected, bringing the total number of partners involved in TEIN3 to 19. TEIN4 will continue the service of TEIN3 and will foster the setup of an Asian based TEIN organisation that will ensure the sustainability of the action.
The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) was established in February 1997, to provide a forum for the non-governmental dialogue, becoming the only institutional body of ASEM until today. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding, deeper engagement and continuing collaboration among the peoples of Asia and Europe through greater intellectual, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges between the two regions. ASEF is governed by an Executive Committee with equal Asian and European participation, and a Board of Governors made up of all ASEM partners. ASEF’s traditional four areas of activity are: (1) education and academic cooperation, (2) arts and culture, (3) interfaith dialogue and (4) human rights and governance. A revised strategy paper was approved in May 2009 by the ASEF Board of Governors adding another three areas of activity i.e..: (5) economy and society, (6) environment and sustainable development and (7) public health.
Council of the European Union