EU — Remarks by HR/VP Catherine Ashton at the 10th ASEM

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.

Thank you.

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

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