Category Archives: Relations with third countries

Eastern europe and central asia
Mediterranean partner countries
Middle east
Latin america
Asia
Industrialised countries
European External Action Service
International agreements

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Bangladesh Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Following the adoption of a new partnership agreement in 2001, the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh are cooperating in many areas. Primarily, EU intervention should support the country in reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

All cooperation projects must incorporate the objectives of protecting gender equality, rural development, food safety, environmental protection and good public governance.

Short-term priorities

This strategy aims at establishing a balance between social development and economic development. The partners therefore identify priority areas for action:

  • human and social development, through programmes to promote health, nutrition, access to education, decent work and the fight against poverty;
  • good governance, particularly as regards the management of public finances, the judicial system and the effectiveness of the State;
  • the protection of human rights, mainly to improve respect for the rights of women and children, but also of minority groups such as refugees and the disabled;
  • economic and trade development, to enable the country to be integrated into the global trade system, to increase the competitiveness of enterprises and the diversification of economic production.

Long-term priorities

During the second phase of implementation of the strategy, a series of actions are to be carried out in the areas of:

  • the environment and disaster management, the consequences of which mainly affect the poorest people;
  • food security and nutrition, so as to permanently reduce malnutrition rates, particularly in rural areas.

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2001/332/EC of 26 February 2001 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.

Summary

The cooperation put in place between the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh should contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the fight against poverty. Bangladesh is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Areas of cooperation

Special attention is paid by the partners to the fight against drugs and against HIV/AIDS. Their actions comprise:

  • prevention measures, monitoring and fighting AIDS;
  • information provision and educational activities;
  • improving access to health services and treatment for the sick;
  • the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Trade cooperation aims at the expansion of trade and the opening up of markets. It takes place in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. The partners therefore need to make progress towards removing trade barriers and resolving transit or re-export issues. They must improve customs cooperation and information sharing.

Moreover, the country must make progress in its undertakings as regards the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights.

Economic cooperation aims particularly at:

  • facilitating contacts between economic operators, business communities, enterprises and investors;
  • improving the business environment and conditions for investment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • promoting technology transfer.

The agreement enshrines the principle of reciprocal access by the partners to their respective public works contracts. They apply the principle of free access to international maritime transport contracts.

In the area of the environment, cooperation must make it possible in particular to:

  • reduce the risks of natural disasters, and combat soil degradation in particular;
  • develop environmental policy and workers’ training;
  • promote sustainable and non-polluting energies.

The partners share knowledge in the field of science and technology. They cooperate in combating the production of drugs and money laundering.

A key point of the partnership is the development of workers’ rights and skills. International Labour Organization (ILO) instruments are to be implemented (in the areas of child labour, forced labour, freedom of association, trade union rights, etc.). Furthermore, measures are to be taken to foster education and vocational qualifications, particularly for the poorest population sectors.

Regional cooperation

Cooperation actions may be undertaken with other countries in the region, as a priority in the fields of:

  • technical assistance and workers’ training;
  • the promotion of intra-regional trade;
  • support for regional cooperation organisations (such as the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC));
  • examining questions with a regional dimension, particularly in the sectors of transport, communications, the environment and health.

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Document or Iniciative

Free trade agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part.

Summary

Under this free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Korea, the partners will progressively eliminate duties and import quotas applying to imports and exports of industrial and agricultural products. They will also introduce progressive liberalisation of services and investment.

The main objectives of this Agreement are:

  • to eliminate duties for European exporters of industrial and agricultural products;
  • to improve market access for EU service providers;
  • to abolish non-tariff restrictions in the electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors;
  • to improve market access for EU car manufacturers;
  • to improve access to government procurement markets;
  • to protect intellectual property rights;
  • to strengthen competition law;
  • to improve transparency;
  • to promote sustainable development;
  • to establish a rapid and effective dispute settlement system.

Elimination of tariff and non-tariff measures

The EU and Korea will progressively abolish customs duties applying to their trade in goods. This liberalisation applies to a list of goods (Annex 2-A).

In addition, the partners may not adopt any other types of import or export restrictions. However, they may provide for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health. In accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the partners shall minimise the effects of these measures on the development of trade.

Trade in services and right of establishment

The partners undertake to liberalise part of their offer of services in accordance with the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). They have therefore drawn up a list of commitments and limitations (Annex 7-A) concerning the liberalised service sectors.

Similarly, the Agreement defines the rules on the right of establishment for access to the market in services, and on the right of residence for professionals.

Lastly, the liberalisation of financial services may be restricted in order to protect the partners’ financial systems or to protect investors and individuals receiving these services.

Government procurement

The EU and Korea shall grant each other access to their markets in products and services, in compliance with the rules on openness, transparency and non-discrimination in the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement.

The rules applying to public works contracts are laid down in Annex 9 to this Agreement.

Dispute settlement

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the Agreement, the parties shall have recourse to extrajudicial dispute settlement mechanisms, particularly rapid arbitration and mediation procedures.

Sustainable development

The Agreement includes provisions establishing joint commitments and a framework for cooperation on trade and sustainable development and provides for dialogue and continuous commitment between the EU and South Korea in the areas of environment and employment.

Context

This free trade agreement is the most complete and the most ambitious agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. The strategy for a Global Europe: Competing in the world (BG) (CS) (ET) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (PL) (RO) (SK) (SL) envisages the development of this type of agreement in order to provide the EU with preferential access to external markets.

According to a recent study , this Agreement should make it possible to double bilateral trade over the next twenty years compared to a situation without an agreement in place.

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with the Philippines (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Philippines Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Philippines is focused on reducing poverty and the equitable distribution of wealth. Although the country has reached an intermediate level of development, a large proportion of its population lives below the poverty threshold. This situation is partly explained by a high level of demographic growth and a low level of economic growth.

Areas for cooperation

This Strategy should be implemented according to priority actions in order to:

  • develop a policy to reduce poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • promote economic reforms and good public governance;
  • organise basic social services, in particular to improve access to health care and education.

Furthermore, the partnership should stimulate trade and investment, and reinforce the positive impact of commercial growth on the country’s level of development.

Cross-cutting issues

Generally, cooperation actions should improve governance and human rights, gender equality, the rights of children and minorities, as well as the protection of the environment, conflict prevention and the stability of the country.

Thematic regional programmes

The Philippines participate in several regional cooperation schemes, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for policy dialogue.

These bodies provide a framework for cooperation and dialogue as regards democracy and human rights, migration, the environment, social policy and exchanges between universities.

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Indonesia Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Indonesia has undertaken a process of political and economic stabilisation supported by the European Union (EU). This cooperation strategy also supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which remain a priority for a country where the majority of the population lives in poverty.

Priorities for cooperation

Education and vocational training are priority areas of action. EU intervention should contribute to improving basic education systems, vocational training and higher education. The partners’ aim is to increase the level of education and adapt teaching to the needs of sustainable development.

The EU supports the programme of trade and investment reforms, to accelerate the economic performance of the country and allow it to join the international trade system. The social and environmental impact of these reforms must be controlled. They are contributing to the development of a free trade zone between the EU and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

In addition, the operation of the judicial and law enforcement system should be strengthened. To this end, cooperation actions support institutional reforms, good public governance, human rights, the fight against corruption and the fight against organised crime. The role of civil society should be particularly encouraged when carrying out reforms.

Beyond these priorities, the partners put in place a series of thematic actions, in particular for democracy and human rights, support for civil society, food security, asylum policy and migration.

General areas of cooperation

Certain areas must be included in a cross-cutting way within the actions that have been planned by the partnership, such as:

  • protection of the environment, particularly to combat illegal logging;
  • conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery for certain regions;
  • gender equality, including in democratic life;
  • governance, transparency and the management of public finances;
  • human rights and the protection of indigenous people;
  • combating HIV/AIDS;
  • controlling the impact of globalisation on social cohesion and promoting decent work.

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Thailand Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership put in place between the European Union (EU) and Thailand is intended to facilitate policy and trade dialogue and knowledge sharing. The cooperation priorities presented by the Commission therefore take into account improvements in the socio-economic development of the country.

Strategic cooperation areas

Economic cooperation activities are at the heart of the partnership. The EU therefore supports public reforms in economic areas, improvements to the legal environment for enterprise and investment, and the increase in commercial competitiveness of the country at regional and global levels.

Similarly, planned measures aim at facilitating customs cooperation and adapting rules and technical standards applicable to goods that are to be imported into the EU.

The partners also intend to strengthen their relations in the area of science and technology, higher education and research. Their activities should facilitate the sharing of information, know-how and good practices, as well as strengthening capacities and resources in the sector of research.

Lastly, cooperation should foster dialogue and the sharing of knowledge in the areas of social policy, protection of the environment, good governance, human rights and mine action.

Policy dialogue

A series of themes are to be covered as part of the policy dialogue:

  • the promotion of democracy and human rights;
  • social and human development, particularly as regards health, culture, education and training;
  • immigration and asylum policy, the fight against human trafficking and the protection of displaced persons;
  • the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • the development of civil society.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions undertaken must take into account:

  • gender equality and the position of women in the economy;
  • the impact of global trade at social level and the promotion of decent work;
  • management of natural resources, including energy;
  • good governance in public affairs and the promotion of human rights.

Context

The partners’ relations should be intensified through the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The negotiations, initiated in 2007, deal particularly with the priorities defined in this Strategy Paper.

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Vietnam Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam aims primarily to reduce the level of poverty in the country. This aim is pursued in line with Vietnam’s socio-economic development plan and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Cooperation priorities

This strategy identifies a limited number of areas for cooperation, in order to enhance the effectiveness of development aid. Cooperation actions are mainly financed through the instrument for development cooperation (DCI). They are aimed at supporting:

  • socio-economic development, particularly the reform of public policies and the increase of financial resources, including by mobilising international donors;
  • the health sector, especially to improve access to care, the development of infrastructure and to extend the coverage of social protection to the whole population.

Furthermore, the EU supports the development of trade with Vietnam, to help the country to maximise its international trade development and exploit its membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Cooperation should contribute to the development of trade policies, and the legal framework applicable to workers, enterprises, investment and exports.

The increase in trade should have a positive impact on reducing poverty and the sustainable development of the country.

Policy dialogue

The partners are undertaking a strategic dialogue, in particular with a view to strengthening public institutions, public administration, good governance and human rights.

In addition, a set of thematic objectives supplements these priorities. They can be implemented through the European Instrument for Stability. The objectives are as follows:

  • democracy and human rights;
  • the development of civil society;
  • migration and asylum policy;
  • human and social development;
  • environmental protection and sustainable resource management;
  • higher education.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions should have a positive impact on gender equality, the fight against HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, democracy, good governance and human rights.

Context

In 2007, Vietnam and the EU launched negotiations with a view to intensifying their relations by adopting a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decisions 94/578/EC, 95/129/EC, 96/354/EC, 2001/332/EC and 2004/870/EC concerning the conclusion of the cooperation agreements between the European Community, of the one part, and of the other part, the Republic of India, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Nepal, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, respectively.

Summary

Between 1994 and 2004, the European Union (EU) concluded five similar cooperation agreements with five countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These agreements aim to develop the cooperation ties between the partners, while ensuring a respect for human rights and promoting democratic principles.

The main cooperation objectives concern:

  • trade, with the aim of increasing, diversifying and liberalising trade. Therefore, the parties must improve the opening up of their respective markets, and enhance their cooperation in customs matters in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • economy, in order to improve the business environment, dialogue between economic operators, information exchange, and entrepreneur training;
  • sustainable development, specifically for social progress and combating poverty. The EU must support the progress of partners in the fields of health, education, improving the standard of living, and promoting the role of women in society;
  • the development of human resources, vocational qualifications and the promotion of international standards on decent work;
  • rural development, increasing trade in agricultural, fisheries and farmed products, including the improvement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Agreements also provide specific objectives depending on the different needs of the country for:

  • scientific and technological cooperation, which should lead to improvements in the technical assistance with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh’s quality and control standards, and the launching of joint research projects, the mobility of researchers, and exchanges of scientific information (particularly in the fields of bio-technology, new materials and geosciences) with India;
  • environmental protection, particularly to support Pakistan and Nepal in natural resource management, erosion and deforestation; Bangladesh for reducing the risks of natural disasters; Sri Lanka for preventing industrial pollution, and India for drafting and implementing environmental legislation, research and training;
  • improving the environment for private investment with India, Nepal and Sri Lanka;
  • developing industry and services with India and Pakistan;
  • protecting intellectual property rights with India and Sri Lanka;
  • cooperation in the fields of information, culture and communications with Pakistan and Bangladesh;
  • promoting the energy sector with India, Pakistan and Nepal, recognising the importance of the energy sector for their economic and social development;
  • combating drug trafficking and money laundering, particularly with Pakistan and Bangladesh using special measures against the production and trafficking of drugs, and also the prevention of drug abuse;
  • tourism with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, particularly through studies and information exchange.

Context

SAARC is a regional cooperation organisation, established in 1985 in order to accelerate the economic and social development of its Member States. These Member States are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The EU has observer member status in the organisation, as does Burma/Myanmar, China, South Korea, the United States, Iran, Japan and Mauritius.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/578/EC Republic of India

1.8.1994

OJ L 223 of 27.8.1994

Decision 95/129/EC the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

1.4.1995

OJ L 85 of 19.4.1995

Decision 2004/870/EC, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

1.9.2004

OJ L 378 of 23.12.2004

Decision 2001/332/EC People’s Republic of Bangladesh

1.3.2001

OJ L 118 of 27.4.2001

Decision 96/354/EC Kingdom of Nepal

1.6.1996

OJ L 137 of 8.6.1996

Related Acts

Communication concerning the entry into force, in trade between the European Community and the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of the provisions laid down in Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1602/2000, concerning the definition of the concept of ‘originating products’ for the purpose of applying tariff preferences granted by the Community to certain products from developing countries (regional cumulation of origin)) [OJ C 265 of 15.9.2000].

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enhancing the Asia strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 4 September 2001. Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships [COM(2001)469 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Taking account of the developments that have taken place since its 1994 Communication entitled ‘Towards a New Asia Strategy’, the Commission updates the mechanism established by the 1994 strategy. It sets outs a comprehensive strategic framework for relations between Asia, its regions and the European Union (EU) in the coming decade, while recognising the diversity of Asia through different forms of partnership. The Commission aims to strengthen the EU’s political and economic presence in Asia, raising it to a level commensurate with the growing global weight of the enlarged Union.

The new strategy therefore focuses on six key points:

  • strengthening the EU’s engagement with Asia in the political and security fields;
  • further strengthening mutual trade and investment flows with the region;
  • demonstrating the EU’s effectiveness as a partner in reducing poverty in Asia;
  • promoting respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
  • building global alliances with key Asian partners (to address global challenges and within international organisations);
  • strengthening mutual awareness between the EU and Asia.

The Communication identifies concrete proposals aimed at strengthening EU-Asia relations in these key areas and launching actions on a broader regional scale.

As regards peace and security, the EU must play an active role in regional fora, promote conflict prevention through the sharing of experiences and strengthen EU-Asia dialogue on justice and home affairs, an area that includes, in particular, the right to asylum, immigration and arms trafficking.

Mutual trade and investment flows must benefit from better market access and investment conditions on both sides. Efforts must be made to encourage contacts between the private sector (especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) and in particular the high technology sector, strengthen dialogue on economic and financial policy, and enhance market access for the poorest developing countries.

In order to reduce poverty, the Commission will give priority in its cooperation programmes to key issues such as education and health, economic and social governance, and the link between environment and poverty. Enhanced dialogue on social policy issues would make it possible to exchange experiences on the most appropriate method of addressing the challenges of globalisation and modernisation.

Promoting civil society and a dialogue between Asia and Europe must encourage democracy, good governance and the rule of law. As regards human rights, constructive exchanges, such as the dialogue with China on human rights, should pave the way for better cooperation.

It is also important to conclude partnerships and build alliances in addressing global issues such as the reform of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the environment and other challenges, for example international crime, terrorism and the spread of AIDS.

The opening of new delegations is one of the instruments that promotes better mutual knowledge between Europe and Asia. Support should also be provided for university, cultural and scientific exchanges and for civil society contacts between the regions.

The Communication also sets out specific measures to target the EU’s initiatives concerning the different component parts of Asia (South Asia, South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Australasia, which is included for the first time in the EU-Asia strategic framework). These measures aim first and foremost to improve relations with certain countries in the region and cover bilateral issues with each country, while providing a framework for the overall relations between Europe and Asia. The Commission favours a pragmatic approach, based on a specific analysis of its relations with each country or group of countries.

At an institutional level, the EU’s relations with Asia have developed considerably in recent years. The first bilateral summit was held in 1991 with Japan. Similar summits have been organised recently with India and China as well as with East Asia as a whole under the ASEM process (Asia-Europe Meeting). At ministerial level, the EU’s dialogue with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the one hand, and with Australia and New Zealand on the other, continues to make progress.

The ASEM process

The ASEM process

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The ASEM process

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

The ASEM process (Asia-Europe meeting)

Document or Iniciative

Commission working document, of 18 April 2000: Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process (Asia-Europe Meeting) into the new decade [COM(2000) 241 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

ASEM is an informal process of dialogue bringing together the Member States, the European Commission and ten Asian countries: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

The dialogue takes place at several levels: there are Summit-level meetings, which are attended by the Asian and European Heads of State or Government and the President of the Commission, and Ministerial-level meetings on foreign affairs, finance, the economy, the environment, or science and technology. Discussions take place under three pillars: the political pillar, the economic and financial pillar, and the cultural and intellectual pillar. The larger meetings are prepared by the group of Coordinators, made up of four representatives: the Presidency, the European Commission and two Asian countries in rotation. To date, there have been four summits: in Bangkok in 1996, in London in 1998, in Seoul in 2000 and in Copenhagen in 2002. There have been many Ministerial-level meetings in the various fields.

In this document, the Commission emphasises the informal character of the process, which it regards as one of its greatest assets, and its pluralistic dimension. The Commission considers that the main comparative advantage of the process is its ability to stimulate and facilitate work in bilateral and multilateral fora, and to promote dialogue and mutual understanding in areas where a consensus can be reached.

In 2000, the Commission was concerned that the process could run out of steam if it failed to show the public and the world of business that it was still relevant to their concerns and interests. At the same time, it stressed the importance of ASEM’s potential, and called on public opinion to support the process and encourage the participation of civil society.

Priorities

In its working document, the Commission sets out general priorities for the three pillars of ASEM. Their aim is to build on the achievements of the process and deepen relations between the two regions. In the political field, and with a view to focusing on issues of common interest, the Commission proposes:

  • to intensify the high-level dialogue;
  • to strengthen networking and informal dialogue;
  • to provide for an exchange of views in the context of appropriate international institutions;
  • to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
  • to make joint efforts in addressing global issues that the partnership could further.

In the economic field: The aim is to strengthen the economic partnership, giving priority to dialogue at different levels: between companies, between the public and private sectors, between Finance and Economic Ministers, as well as maintaining a dialogue on more general socio-economic issues.

The intensification of the dialogue between the Economic Ministers and their Senior Officials should:

  • promote the strengthening of the WTO multilateral trade system;
  • strengthen two-way trade and investment flows;
  • establish an enhanced climate for business cooperation;
  • enhance dialogue and cooperation in key sectors for the future, such as infrastructure, transport, high-technology, services, telecommunications.

In the cultural and intellectual fields, ASEM should focus on promoting enhanced contacts and strengthened mutual awareness between the peoples of the two regions. The Commission calls for enhanced dialogue and cooperation in the fields of science and technology, the environment, social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the promotion of networking and increased contact and exchanges in the field of education. It proposes to continue to lend support to the Asia-Europe Foundation as a catalyst for cultural and intellectual dialogue between the two regions.

The Commission sets five specific priorities for the Seoul Summit:

  • an enhanced exchange of views on regional and global security issues;
  • enhanced dialogue and cooperation on trade, social policy and economic issues;
  • intensified educational exchanges;
  • cooperation in the field of consumer protection;
  • a possible broadening of participation in the ASEM process.

Related Acts

(September 2002)

The Copenhagen Summit approved the Copenhagen Declaration on Cooperation against International Terrorism and the Copenhagen Cooperation Programme on Fighting International Terrorism. The Summit also agreed that ASEM’s priorities would be closer economic cooperation, cooperation in the social, educational and environmental fields and a dialogue on cultures and civilisations. The next summit will take place in Vietnam in 2004.

Seoul Summit (October 2000)

This Summit, which is recognised as a historic milestone in the evolution of the ASEM process, approved the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000, building on the decisions taken in London. It sets a common vision for the future, as well as the aims, priorities and mechanisms to take the process into the 21st century. The partners agreed to strive for a common goal of maintaining peace and stability, and of promoting conditions conducive to sustainable economic and social development. Other ASEM initiatives were endorsed, relating to globalisation and information technology, the development of human resources, the environment, health, and transnational law enforcement matters.

In addition to coordination mechanisms, the Framework proposes that the Economy, Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministers meet regularly, at least once a year. A group of ASEM contact officials will facilitate exchanges of information.

London Summit (April 1998)

The London Summit adopted an Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework and established an Asia-Europe Vision Group to examine medium and long term perspectives for relations between the two regions. The Heads of State or Government also endorsed an action plan on trade facilitation and another on promoting investment. In response to the economic and financial crisis in Asia, they also agreed to create an ASEM Trust Fund and a European financial expertise network to overcome the effects of the crisis and avert new crises.

The process must be conducted on a basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefits. It need not be institutionalised and should be an open and evolutionary process, managing the three pillars in parallel. The priorities set form the basis of those taken up by the Commission in 2000. The summit also refers to the need for increased cooperation in the fields of science and technology, culture, human resources, development, the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and international organised crime.

The Cooperation Framework provides that the Foreign Affairs Ministers and their Senior Officials are responsible for the overall coordination of ASEM activities. Any proposals for new activities must be beneficial to both parties, contribute to the general objectives, propose well-defined goals and actors, avoid duplicating activities and involve a sufficient number of partners.

Bangkok Summit (March 1996)

At the inaugural ASEM in Bangkok, the Heads of State or Government decided to establish an Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre in Bangkok. They also decided to set up an Asia-Europe Foundation with headquarters in Singapore, an Asia-Europe university programme and youth exchange programmes to strengthen cultural ties. They also agreed to conduct a study on the integration of the trans-Asian rail network and its possible integration into the trans-European network.