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The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a unique, informal platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe on the big challenges of a fast-changing world, such as connectivity, but also broad security challenges such as counter-terrorism, migration, maritime security and cyber issues. Bringing together 53 partners from across Europe and Asia, ASEM Partners represent around 60% of global population, 65% of global economy, 55% of global trade and 75% of global tourism. ASEM's main purpose is to provide a platform to foster political dialogue, strengthen economic cooperation and tackle global challenges together. In many respects, recent developments in the international landscape have increased the value of ASEM as a key building block for an open, cooperative and rules-based international system.

The initial ASEM Partnership which was inaugurated in Bangkok, Thailand on 1-2 March 1996 consisted of just 15 EU Member States and 7 ASEAN Member States plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission. Today ASEM comprises 51 partner countries: the 28 Member States of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland on the European side and the 10 ASEAN countries plus Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan and the Russia Federation on the Asian side. It also includes 2 institutional partners: the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. Until now there have been 5 round of enlargements since 2004. For a list of ASEM Partners, please visit here.

Foreign Ministers and their senior officials have an overall coordinating role within the ASEM Process. They are assisted in this by an informal group of coordinators: 2 from the Asian side (Currently the Philippines representing ASEAN and Pakistan the Northeast and South Asian (NESA) countries) and 2 from the European side (the European External Action Services (EEAS) as the permanent coordinator and the rotating EU Presidency, currently Austria).

“Building on the conclusions of ASEM1 in Bangkok and ASEM2 in London, the following principles should guide future enlargement of the ASEM participation:

  • the ASEM process, which is open and evolutionary, is intended to reinforce the Asia-Europe partnership,
  • enlargement should be conducted in progressive stages,
  • each candidature should be examined on the basis of its own merits and in the light of its potential contribution to the ASEM process,
  • the two-key approach: a final decision on new participants will be made by consensus among all partners only after a candidate has first got the support of its partners within its region,
  • any decision regarding the admission of new participants will be taken by the Heads of State and Government on a consensus basis.”

Read more here.

ASEM events are governmental in nature and are mostly coordinated by the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs in each ASEM Partner country. You can contact the host country’s Foreign Ministry to inquire about invitation and registration information.

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