Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
What is ASEM?
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a process of dialogue and cooperation involving 16 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat along with the 27 European Union (EU) member states and the European Commission (EC). ASEM links Asia and Europe by facilitating discussion on political, economic and cultural relations.
ASEM was conceived by Singapore and France in 1994 and the first Summit meeting was held in Bangkok in March 1996. The process was created to connect Asia and Europe and help raise awareness between the two regions, coordinate multilateral policies where possible, generate initiatives, open up opportunities for trade and investment and promote the development of civil society networks.
Initially consisting of the 15 EU member states, 10 ASEAN member states, plus China, Japan, Korea, and the European Commission, ASEM was first enlarged at its Fifth Summit in 2004, where both new European and ASEAN member states became part of the process. The subsequent round of ASEM enlargement in 2007 brought in India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Romania, Bulgaria and the ASEAN Secretariat, increasing the grouping to a total of 45 partners.
Australia and ASEM
Australia formally joined ASEM, together with New Zealand and Russia, at the 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, 4-5 October 2010, attended by Prime Minister Gillard. Leaders had constructive discussions on a range of international and regional issues including sustainable development, climate change, non-proliferation, transnational organised crime and irregular migration. Prime Minister Gillard addressed the Summit on the challenge of creating effective global economic governance.
- Prime Minister arrives in Brussels for Australia’s first Asia-Europe meeting – 4 October 2010 media release by Prime Minister Gillard
- Chair's Statement of the 8th ASEM Summit welcoming Australia as a member
Former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd attended the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting, held in Hungary over 6-7 June 2011. The meeting had representatives from 45 member states from Asia and Europe and attracted the attendance of 31 foreign ministers, including Indonesia, China, India, Japan and the EU. Mr Rudd participated in a robust discussion on non-traditional security challenges, including climate change, natural disaster management and food security.
- First Australian Foreign Minister visit to Asia-Europe meeting - 5 June 2011 media release by former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd
- Chair's Statement of the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Participation in ASEM enables Australia to coordinate responses to global challenges, strengthens our engagement and integration with Asia, and aligns with Australia's commitment to a new era of engagement with Europe, including through increased cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia has also joined the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) – an institution established by ASEM with headquarters in Singapore. ASEF promotes greater mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Through ASEF, civil society concerns are included as a vital component of deliberations of ASEM. In the past 14 years, ASEF has implemented over 500 projects, bringing together more than 15,000 direct participants and reaching out to an even wider audience in Asia and Europe.
ASEF projects cover seven broad themes -environment, arts and culture, human rights and governance, economy, public health, education and intercommunal dialogue. Activities take the form of conferences, lecture tours, workshops, seminars, web-based platforms and book, CD and DVD publications.