Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
What is ASEM?
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a process of dialogue and cooperation involving 21 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat along with the European Union and its 27 member states, plus Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ASEM links Asia and Europe by facilitating discussion on political, economic and cultural relations.
ASEM was conceived by Singapore and France in 1994. The first Summit 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. Information on ASEM activities can be obtained from the ASEM website.
Initially consisting of the then 15 EU member states, 10 ASEAN member states, plus China, Japan, Korea, and the European Commission, ASEM has gradually broadened its membership and today includes a total of 53 partners.
Australia and ASEM
Australia formally joined ASEM at the 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels in October 2010, attended by former Prime Minister Gillard. Since then, Australia has been represented at each ASEM Summit and Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
The 13th ASEM Summit was held by videoconference in November 2021, hosted by Cambodia. The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, represented Australia. The theme of the summit was “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth”. Leaders also issued a statement on Post-COVID Socio-Economic Recovery [PDF 144 KB].
The 14th ASEM Foreign Ministers' meeting was held in Madrid, Spain, on 15-16 December 2019.
Participation in ASEM enables Australia to coordinate responses to global challenges and strengthen our engagement and integration with ASEM partners. It also allows Australia to play a role in broadening links and fostering a more comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe.