On November 9, 2011, the Asia-Europe Foundation University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN) in partnership with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) co-organised the inaugural EU-Asia Young Professionals Summit. The event was an evening debate that focused on European Union (EU)-Asia relations at the European Parliament. Considering the importance of the growing economic and political ties between Asia and Europe, the purpose of this event is to raise awareness on issues between the EU and Asia, sharing the experience of Asian and European counterparts on the same table for young and ambitious crowds in their junior careers. There were around 70 young professionals from both Asia and Europe, representing diverse backgrounds. The summary of the event was as follows:
Welcome remarks: Dr. Christian Ehler, MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Korean Peninsula;
- Keynote presentation: H.E., Amb. Mr. Ho-Young Ahn, Ambassador of South Korea to the European Union;
- Panel Discussion: H.E., Amb. Mr. Ho-Young Ahn, H.E. Amb. Mr. Norio Maruyama, (The Head of Political Section of the Japanese Mission to the European Union), MEP Dr. Christian Ehler and Dr. Fraser Cameron, (Director EU-Asia Centre);
- Q&A with the floor.
The panel discussed the reasons why Korea negotiated the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU from economic and political points of view. The audience learned that the FTA provided mutual benefit beyond economic numbers. The panel also discussed how both sides can use the momentum of the FTA for closer relationship with each other in the wake of global financial crisis. At the Q&A session, participants elaborated on how Asia and Europe can learn from each other’s historical experience and the impact of bilateral trade agreements to the Doha Development Round. The discussions provided a fruitful platform for spreading more knowledge on Asia-Europe relations and greater mutual understanding. The partnership with YPFP also proved to be very constructive and mutually beneficial. ASEFUAN aims to organize more Young Professionals Summits in the future.