A decision on the enlargement of ASEM in the Helsinki Summit
11 Sep 2006, 17:16 en
The sixth Asia-Europe Meeting, the ASEM 6 Summit, which took place in Helsinki on 10 and 11 September, set the guidelines for the future of the cooperation process between the two continents and adopted a decision on the admission of six new partners. By the next ASEM Summit, to be held in Beijing in 2008, the number of cooperation partners will have increased from 39 to 45. Bulgaria and Romania from Europe and India, Mongolia, Pakistan and the ASEAN Secretariat on the Asian side will join the ASEM process.
Enlargement will increase the international importance of ASEM. With the new partners, almost 60% of the world's population will be involved in ASEM cooperation. The current parties to ASEM cooperation are the Member States of the European Union, the European Commission, the 10 ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), China, Japan and South Korea.
The overarching theme of "Global Challenges - Joint Responses" conveys the idea that Europe and Asia need each other in efforts to identify and resolve key topical issues.
The Heads of State or Government adopted two declarations at the summit. The aim of the Declaration on Climate Change is to add momentum to efforts to reach agreement in international climate negotiations. It supports the objectives of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change and other measures to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
In the other declaration, the Helsinki Declaration on the Future of ASEM, the leaders set the guidelines for future ASEM cooperation. It also contains recommendations for practical measures for the development of cooperation.
The summit agenda covered other important European and Asian affairs, too. The leaders discussed, for example, ways to prevent terrorism and organised crime and to prepare for global health risks. The meeting reconfirmed its support for the fair, UN-based international system.
The leaders also discussed the state of the WTO talks. The ASEM countries underlined that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) must be complemented and supported to allow the negotiations to resume.
The ASEM 6 Summit, attended by almost 1,500 delegates, was the largest ever meeting at the level of Heads of State or Government hosted by Finland. The delegations were led by 36 Heads of State or Government and three Ministers. The meeting was chaired by Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland and current President of the European Council.
Several other ASEM-related events took place in the margins of the Summit. They brought together representatives form Asian and European NGOs, labour organisations, media and business-life. The programme also included various cultural and other public events.
Further information: Jyrki Kallio, Counsellor, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6645 or +358 400 226 134
The Declaration on Climate Change and the Helsinki Declaration on the Future of ASEM are available on the ASEM 6 website at www.asem6.fi/news_and_documents.