Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)


The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a distinctive, unstructured forum for discussion and collaboration between Asia and Europe on the major issues facing a rapidly evolving world, including connectivity, trade and investment, climate change, but also broad security issues like counterterrorism, migration, maritime security, and cyber issues. As the primary international forum connecting Europe and Asia, ASEM unites 53 countries from both Europe and Asia. ASEM partners account for almost 65% of the world’s GDP, 60% of its population, 75% of its tourism, and 68% of its trade.

The fundamental goal of ASEM is to create a forum for promoting political discourse, enhancing economic cooperation, and jointly addressing global concerns. In many ways, recent changes in the global environment have raised the importance of ASEM as a fundamental component of an open, cooperative, and rules-based international system.

The informal and adaptable ASEM method is run on the principles of equal cooperation, respect for one another, and mutual gain. By encouraging the sharing of ideas and best practices, ASEM hopes to serve as a nursery for fresh policy suggestions. To put it briefly, ASEM is the most significant all-encompassing alliance between Asia and Europe, enhancing connectivity in all its manifestations between the two areas.


Only 15 EU member states, 7 ASEAN member states, China, Japan, Korea, and the European Commission made up the first ASEM partnership when it was launched in Bangkok, Thailand on March 1-2, 1996. Currently, ASEM has 51 partner nations, including the 10 ASEAN nations plus Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Russia on the Asian side and the 27 European Union Member States plus Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom on the European side. Additionally, it has the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat as institutional partners.

Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden.

Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


Meetings and activities scheduled at various levels are how ASEM operates.

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, and the 51 Heads of State or Government gather during the ASEM Summit. Every two years, the summits alternate between Asia and Europe.
  • Between ASEM Summits, ministers of foreign affairs, finance, economics, labor and employment, culture, education, transport, and the environment congregate for ministerial meetings. Other ministerial conferences are occasionally conducted to address particular topics and areas that are not addressed by the regular ministerial sessions.
  • Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM) are gatherings of senior civil servants from all ASEM partners’ foreign ministries for the purpose of coordinating the ASEM process as a whole. In order to prepare for the various Ministerial meetings, sectoral SOMs are also convened.
  • On a variety of topics of shared interest, ASEM partners organize activities and initiatives. On the ASEM InfoBoard, you may find a complete schedule of all ASEM meetings.
  • Leaders discussed connectivity and support for multilateralism at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which was held on October 18 and 19, 2018, in Brussels, under the theme “Europe and Asia: Global Partners for Global Challenges.”
  • No secretariat exists for ASEM. The ASEM process is generally coordinated by foreign ministers and their top representatives. An informal group of coordinators supports them in this, with two from the Asian side (currently Singapore representing ASEAN and Russia representing NESA countries) and two from the European side (the rotating EU Presidency and the European External Action Service (EEAS) as the permanent coordinators).

The ASEM Group

  • The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is a global non-profit organization with headquarters in Singapore. Its mission is to advance cultural links and encourage interpersonal interactions between leaders of civil society and business in the two continents.
  • The Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) encourages collaboration between European and Asian parliaments and gives lawmakers a chance to have an impact on the ASEM procedure.
  • The Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum (AEPF) is the ‘grass roots’ component of ASEM and acts as a regional network for social movements and civil society in Asia and Europe.
  • The Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) aims to improve business-to-business communication and cooperation between the two areas and to give corporate and political leaders the chance to engage.
  • The Asia-Europe Labour Forum (AELF) is made up of trade union hubs that participate in the ASEM process in order to put social justice and development at the top of the ASEM Ministers and Heads of State agenda.
  • Every year, the ASEM Cultural Festival is held alongside summits or meetings of foreign ministers to promote intercultural understanding among ASEM partners.


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