Europe-Forum Neumarkt (PR Event), or “Reformaussichten fur die erweiterte EU,” was held from 16th-18th July, 2004 in Neumarkt, Austria. Forchtenstein castle in Neumarkt, a small town in the Styrian Alps, is the seat of the regional Europe-House, the place where European federalists not only from Austria, but also from the rest of Europe meet and discuss recent European policy events and prospects for federal unity.
As there is a fair amount of European introspection, ASEF proposed to add an Asian dimension to the annual deliberations of the `Europa-Forum’ held in July. The Public Affairs Director, Dr. Albrecht Rothacher, gave his views on the evolution of the EU’s policies towards East Asia: How member states’ different historical orientations and distinct perceptions were gradually merged, and how Asia attempted to arrive at common positions in response to the bi-continental dialogue, which is currently known as the still fairly informal ASEM process.
Three speakers from Asia, Professor Shaocheng Tang from Chengchi University, China, Tokiko Kiyota, a Director at Japan Foundation, Tokyo, and Terence Tan, then Director of Administration at ASEF, spoke on their countries’ perceptions of Europe’s integration and how Asia might learn and benefit from the European experience.
The audience, composed of 200 people from all walks of life – ministers and ambassadors from Vienna as well as local farmers and students from East Europe – showed strong interest in the topic, evident in a very lively and animated discussion with the panelists and an equally strong media interest.