ASEM to restore market confidence, maintain global economic recovery

14 October 2014

Source: Channel News Asia (Singapore)
Source type: TV
Published on: 05 Oct 2010

BRUSSELS: Leaders from Asia and Europe meeting in Brussels have pledged to strengthen sources of growth and conduct structural reforms.

The aim is to achieve sustainable growth and restore market confidence.

Underpinning this is a renewed momentum of cooperation between Europe and Asia.

The two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was described as candid, open and with fruitful discussions on the global economic situation.

The talks were timely as there are still lingering doubts among countries who are concerned about falling back into recession.

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Chairman of ASEM 2010, said: "After two years of profound crisis the main road has been found, but a lot of critical points still need to be tackled."

Leaders have outlined two priorities - restoring market confidence and preserving the momentum of the global economic recovery.

They agreed to strengthen investment in both human capital and new technologies, develop social protection and adapt it to the needs of an aging population.

On a global scale, the focus will be on efforts to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and financial regulation.

In their joint declaration, leaders said any structural reforms should move away from policies that created fragilities during the pre-crisis period. These include excessive public deficits, non-sustainable debts and development gaps.

And there's consensus that reforms of financial institutions should take into account the shifts in growth and emerging markets.

Mr Rompuy added: "We have sent clear signals on the modernisation of the international financial institutions. This process needs to take into account the realities of today's world economy - the shifts that have taken place, and the strong growth in dynamic emerging markets and in developing economies."

Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said: "Underlining all this is the importance of ensuring that we turn our backs on protectionism and not allow that instinct to come alive in the form of measures by any economy. All the leaders have understood that."

South Korea, which will host the upcoming G20 Summit, said the country will push with the development agenda to alleviate development gaps among economies.

Another issue leaders spent some time on was that of climate change. Coming just weeks before a UN conference in Cancun, ASEM leaders agreed that deep cuts in global emissions are required.

Singapore has called for a realistic and economically feasible deal.

Mrs Lim said the immediate task was to reach an agreement supported by all countries. The work can then shift to increased commitments, "as industries and citizens grow more accustomed to carbon constraints and as technology enables us to do more."

While there's general consensus reached, ASEM leaders have also acknowledged that there is no easy way out of the crisis. Any withdrawal of stimulus packages could have an impact on businesses and jobs. So leaders have also emphasised the need for social safety nets.

Much of what has been discussed in Brussels will be followed through at the G20 summit in Seoul next month. The next Asia-Europe Meeting will be in Laos in two years.