Thirteen years after the launch of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and with the recent addition of Russia and Australia, the informal dialogue process now involves 45 countries that represent more than half the world’s GDP and two regional institutions, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. More countries may be lining up. Political interest to join the ASEM process can be seen as an indication of ASEM’s success, but ASEM’s enlarged – and growing – constituency also means that it is facing a wider range of issues in a world of increasing complexity. To demonstrate the strategic value of informal dialogue and deliver the constructive solutions promised at its conception, the ASEM process needs, more than ever, to adapt and improve its working methods and efficiency.
In support of the ASEM 8 Summit hosted by Belgium, the two-day workshop brought together a small group of ASEM watchers, including the Summit host and ASEM coordinators, the Asia-Europe Business and People’s Forums, as well as experts of inter-governmental structures comparable to ASEM. On the eve of the workshop, a public Roundtable on the prospects of the ASEM process was organised at the Brussels office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
– examine issues on ASEM’s functionality and efficiency; and
– discuss emergent policy issues in assessment of a future ASEM dialogue agenda