ASEM: 51 Prime Ministers and Presidents gather in Brussels
Today and tomorrow will be extraordinary in Brussels. We all know the implications linked to EU summits, when 28 Prime Ministers and Presidents with their entourage have chosen our city as a meeting point: streets are blocked, security services under stress, a multitude of contacts arriving and hotel reservations impossible.
Those EU Summit weeks are nothing compared to what will happen on 18 and 19 October: 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). This meeting means that all the 28 EU Prime Ministers and Presidents will be present (plus Juncker, Mogherini and Tusk), and Prime Ministers and Presidents from 23 others countries (mostly from Asia): Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and Viet Nam.
ASEM was established in 1996 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia. Their summit is organised every two years and is held alternatively in Asia (last one took place in Mongolia, June 2016) and Europe.
The issues on the agenda focus on dialogue and cooperation between the two continents on a wide range of areas, including: trade and investment, connectivity, sustainable development and climate, security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security and irregular migration.
Side events are planned as well: ASEF Young Leaders Summit (15-19 October), Asia Europe Economic Forum (17-18 October) and ASEM Business Forum (18 October). Embassies and think tanks have send already around invitations for receptions and discussions.