The EU and Asian Heads of State or Government to attend the ASEM Summit in Helsinki
31 Aug 2006, 16:30 en
On 10 and 11 September, Finland, the current holder of the EU Presidency, will host the ASEM Summit, bringing together European and Asian Heads of State or Government in Helsinki. The parties involved in ASEM cooperation process are: the Member States of the European Union, the European Commission, the 10 ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), China, Japan and Republic of Korea.
The Summit in Helsinki will mark the tenth anniversary of the cooperation process. It will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Finland, Matti Vanhanen. The ASEM 6 Summit will be the largest ever meeting of Heads of State or Government hosted by Finland, bringing together some two thousand participants. It is also estimated that around a thousand media representatives will come to Finland to cover the summit.
The summit will focus on ways to respond to the challenges of globalisation. The issues on the agenda include global security threats, energy security, climate change, WTO negotiations, ways to strengthen cultural dialogue, competitiveness and the structural changes in global economy. The meeting will also consider the future prospects for ASEM cooperation on the basis of a joint research project by Finland and Japan, entitled "ASEM in its tenth year: Looking back, looking forward", published in March 2006.
A number of other events will be organised in connection with the ASEM Summit. On 3-6 September, NGOs will hold the sixth Asia-Europe People's Forum, which is expected to attract about 400 participants from Asia and Europe. Representatives of Asian and European labour market organisations will meet on 7 and 8 September and business leaders on 10 and 11 September. On 7 and 8 September, a meeting of the ASEM partners will be held in connection with ASEM's 10th anniversary. The main theme of the meeting will be cooperation between civil society, business and government. On 9 September, there will also be an Editors' Roundtable, a discussion forum for media representatives from prominent European and Asian media organisations and, on 8 September, an open discussion will be held on cooperation between Asia and Europe.
ASEM cooperation was initiated in 1996 with a view to strengthening dialogue and interaction between Asia and Europe. Discussions centre on political, economic, cultural and social issues. The summits that are organised every two years, alternately in Asia and Europe, set the guidelines for cooperation. They also provide Asian and European Heads of State or Government with an opportunity to meet each other and discuss key international issues. In addition to high-level cooperation, the process aims to promote dialogue among economic stakeholders, NGOs and individual citizens.
Further information: Jyrki Kallio, Counsellor, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6645 or +358 400 226 134, Jukka Salovaara, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, EU Affairs, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 9 160 22055 and Sanna Kangasharju, Deputy Head of Information, Government Communications Unit, tel. +358 9 1602 2175