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Highlights from the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Na Pyi Taw on 20 and 21 November 2017.

13th ASEM Foreign Ministers meeting - Extracts of the press conference

Main results

Foreign ministers of Europe and Asia met over two days for the 13th ASEM Foreign ministers meeting, taking place in Na Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on 20-21 November.

Ministers agreed on a Chair's statement on the meeting:

"In times of great change for the world, our cooperation on global affairs is more important than ever. In these times of global change, we increasingly look to Asia as a natural partner. We, as European Union, want to make this partnership stronger."

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Head of the EU delegation

"Over the past two days, we had fruitful discussions on security, trade, climate change, sustainable development and connectivity. Connectivity, be it in the digital world or in the real, physical world, is all about linking people, bringing them closer together. Moving forward on our common Asian-European connectivity agenda therefore has the potential to foster increased trade, growth and prosperity."

Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The minister expressed the EU's satisfaction with the agreement reached on a definition of connectivity for ASEM's future work in the area which includes sustainability and economic viability and respect for international norms.

Over the two-days meeting, foreign ministers discussed how to address key challenges affecting both continents. They held two plenary sessions, the first one on "Synergizing peace and sustainable development" and the second on "3rd decade of ASEM, making ASEM partnership more dynamic and connected." They also had a retreat session where a wide range of regional and international issues were discussed.

Many ministers referred to security, terrorism, climate change, sustainable development and migration as key global challenges. They underlined that cooperation and connectivity are essential in order to tackle them effectively.  They noted the important contribution that the ASEM forum was bringing in this regard, as it can help strengthening the rules-based world order.

In the margins

Special meeting on the situation in Rakhine State

Ahead of the ASEM Foreign Ministers' meeting, European and Asian Foreign Ministers attended a meeting on the situation in Rakhine State, presided by the State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in the region and on the efforts of the government of Myanmar to ensure the safe and dignified return of those who have fled their homes, in close cooperation with Bangladesh. The humanitarian situation, and the importance of ensuring access to all aid workers was also discussed.

Federica Mogherini in Nai Pyi Taw at the ASEM Youth 

Youth event: 8th model ASEM

In parallel to the meeting, a group of 150 young representatives from all ASEM countries  are participating in a simulation of the ASEM negotiations. Two of their representatives were invited to present their views in the opening ceremony of the Foreign ministers meeting.

In the margins, the High Representative Federica Mogherini met and exchanged with them on key issues such as migration, democracy and trade.

ASEM in numbers

ASEM partners represent:

  • 60% of global GDP
  • 60% of world's population
  • 60% of global trade

Read more key figures on ASEM in the Eurostat report below:

About the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was established in 1996 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia. It aims to strengthen the relationship between the two continents.

ASEM brings together 53 partners, including the EU, 30 European countries (28 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland), 21 Asian countries, and the ASEAN Secretariat.

The ASEM summit is organised every two years, in Asia and in Europe alternatively, to set out the priorities of the partnership. Ministerial meetings are organised in between the ASEM summits, including one meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers.

See also