Remarks by HR/VP Catherine Ashton at the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Ladies and gentlemen.
It’s once again a great pleasure to be in Gödöllö for this Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers’ meeting. The dialogue that we have reflects the importance of the solid engagement between the EU and Asia .
It’s a unique forum.
Together, we represent more than 60% of the world’s population – 4 billion people — half of global GDP, and more than 60% of international commerce.
Our aim in coming together is to foster political dialogue, to reinforce economic cooperation and promote cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe.
I’m confident in the basis of today that over the next 24 hours we will take that work further. We face many common security challenges and we share many interests.
For the first time, non-traditional security challenges have featured as a main theme of our dialogue. Issues like climate change, food and energy security, and the fight against piracy cannot be addressed alone.
Only a joint effort can achieve the necessary results for the people that we have the privilege to represent.
And we recognized in our discussions the importance of working together to prepare for the kind of crisis management and unfortunate disasters that we know will and can happen. We also discussed a number of issues that affect us both in Europe and Asia. I briefed colleagues on the situation in the EU Southern Neighbourhood.
We have a common interest in supporting the countries that are moving to what I have described as deep democracy, countries like Tunisia and Egypt where old regimes have been swept aside. I have talked too about how we are using our political pressure on those regimes which are trying to repress the will of their citizens.
I am proud of the way the EU has reacted and proud of the work that we have done to develop our new Neighbourhood Policy and put together a comprehensive approach to address the needs of people in our neighbourhood.
I underlined that in recognizing what is happening across the Arab world we also need to make progress in the Middle East Peace Process for the security of Israel and for the security of people of Palestine.
As our meeting continues, we will also address other issue; the financial crisis and our recovery from it, our social and cultural links between Europe and Asia.
Let me end by saying how important Asia is to Europe, and Europe to Asia, and how essential I believe it is that we work together to address the common challenges which we all face. There was a very successful 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels last October, we very much look forward to the 9th Summit in Vientiane next year.
Council of the European Union
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