Senior Officials from the European Union and its 52 ASEM partners gathered last week (10-11 September 2015) in Brussels to prepare the Foreign Ministers' Meeting (FMM) that will be chaired by EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini on 5-6 November 2015 and hosted by Luxembourg.
The well-attended meeting was held in an open and constructive atmosphere, looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities in the next decade as ASEM approaches its 20thanniversary next year. Senior Officials discussed the future of ASEM, how to connect the two continents better through infrastructure and through people-to-people links, as well as other matters of common interest such as climate change, sustainable development, disaster management and relevant regional and international issues. An EU-funded study on the future of ASEM provided inspiration to the participants.
Senior Officials also discussed the preparations for the upcoming FMM (under the theme "Working Together for a Sustainable and Secure Future") and for the 11th ASEM Summit and 20th anniversary celebrations in Mongolia next year.
The meeting was preceded by a conference on "ASEM at 20: the challenge of connectivity" organised by the think tank 'Friends of Europe' in cooperation with the EEAS and with the participation of the SOM Chair, EEAS Managing Director a.i. for Asia and Pacific, Mr Ugo Astuto, as well as high-level speakers from Europe and Asia, including some ASEM Senior Officials (cf. http://www.friendsofeurope.org/event/asem-20-challenge-connectivity).
The next ASEM Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) will be held just before the FMM on 2-4 November 2015 in Luxembourg.