Brussels, 29 October 2012
FACTSHEET ASEM 9 SUMMIT
Following the summit held in Brussels in October 2010, the ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will take place in Vientiane, Laos, on 5-6 November under the theme “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity”. The EU will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. Heads of States and Governments of the 27 EU Member States and the 21 Asian partners will also attend.
The summit will kick off on Monday, 5 November, with a ceremony marking the accession to ASEM of Norway, Switzerland and Bangladesh, bringing the total number of partners to 51.
A debate on economic and financial issues, a key topic of the summit, will open leaders' discussions. The European side will take the opportunity to update on its most recent work to address financial market tensions, restore confidence and stimulate growth and jobs. In this regard, the EU will also emphasise the relationship between the current economic situation in the EU and the global economic and financial landscape, along with the need for all to contribute to achieving financial stability and economic growth. The reform of International Financial Institutions, as well as the fight against protectionism, will also feature in the debate.
The second plenary session, on Tuesday 6 November, will focus on global issues, including the fight against terrorism, piracy at sea and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Energy security, water resources management and food security will be also on the agenda. The EU will underline its support to addressing climate change challenges and will encourage Asian countries to join these efforts.
During a working lunch, regional issues will be discussed: topics will range from the Korean peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue and the deteriorating situation in Syria to the recent developments in Burma/Myanmar. Maritime security in Asia and the integration process in East Asia may also be raised.
A fourth session will be devoted to social and cultural cooperation, covering people-to-people contacts, the promotion of human rights, education, cultural cooperation and migration.
Finally, leaders will look to the future of ASEM and adopt the ASEM work programme for the next two years (2012 - 2014). President Van Rompuy will invite leaders to the 10th ASEM summit in Brussels in the second half of 2014.
At the end of the summit, participants are expected to approve the "Vientiane Declaration on strengthening partnership for peace and development", reaffirming the commitment of the ASEM partners to peace, security, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In addition, they will also adopt the summit communiqué ("Chair's statement").
The Asia-Europe Meeting is a forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia, which involves virtually the whole of the two continents. The ASEM partnership accounts for about half of the world's GDP, around 60% of the world's population and up to 60% of global trade.
ASEM complements and does not replace Europe's bilateral relations with Asian countries.
ASEM partners are the 27 EU member states, 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma/Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia, the ASEAN Secretariat and the European Commission. Three new members will join at the November summit (Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland).
The biennial ASEM summits have been the cornerstone of the ASEM process since the first summit in Bangkok back in 1996. Since then1 , ASEM has served to strengthen interaction and mutual understanding between the two regions through sustained dialogue and cooperation. Each year between summits, ministerial and official meetings are held to carry forward the ASEM dialogue.
In 2011, EU trade with Asian ASEM members (Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Burma/Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) amounted to € 330 billion in exports and € 532 billion worth of imports. Commercial exchanges with these states accounted for one fourth of the EU's trade with the world in 2011.
The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), established in February 1997 to provide a forum for non-governmental dialogue, became 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. ASEF's areas of activity are: economy and society, environment and sustainable development, public health, arts and culture, education and academic cooperation, intercommunal dialogue as well as human rights and governance. The European Commission has committed € 3 million to continuing its support to the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) over the next three years.
ASEM Dialogue Facility
The European Commission provides financial and technical support to ASEM through the ASEM Dialogue Facility, which promotes closer cooperation among the ASEM partners and is designed to enhance policy and know-how transfer to less developed countries in the Asian region. The programme is focused on five sectors: economic and financial matters and the European experience with economic and financial integration; environment and climate change; development aid policy and delivery; employment and social inclusion; education, multilingualism, culture and cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. The facility is now in its 4th phase of operations and € 3 million have been allocated under this new phase for activities to be implemented in 2012-2015.
After the inaugural Bangkok summit in 1996, ASEM summits have taken place every two years: in London, Seoul, Copenhagen, Hanoi, Helsinki, Beijing and in 2010 in Brussels.