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14th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting: Asia and Europe come together to revitalize multilateralism

13/12/2019 - 12:45
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The ASEMFMM14 taking place in Madrid gathers 51 European and Asian countries to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between the two continents

At a time when multilateralism is under challenge, the value of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) as a defender of rules-based multilateralism and free and fair trade is more important than ever. The 14th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), taking place on 15-16 December in Madrid, will bring together 51 European and Asian countries, alongside the EU and ASEAN, under the overarching theme Asia and Europe: Together for Effective Multilateralism. Chaired by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the summit will focus on two main themes: “revitalising” the multilateral system and building “sustainable connectivity” between Europe and Asia, alongside advancing cooperation in a number of pressing regional and security issues. On the margins of the meeting, the ASEM Cultural Festival will feature over 40 artists from both continents to celebrate the common ground beneath the regions’ cultural and artistic diversity.

The FMM´s discussions will take place in three different sessions. A first plenary session devoted to "revitalising” the multilateral system will aim at advancing the ASEM partnership on global issues such as climate change —building on the momentum created by the recent COP 25—; gender equality and the role of women in peace and security; and marine litter and plastics. 

The second plenary session will concentrate on ASEM's role in strengthening “sustainable connectivity” between Asia and Europe, the rules-based trading system and the WTO; and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Finally, the so-called ‘retreat session’ will be the moment to address in an informal setting more “sensitive” regional issues, such as non-proliferation (Iran and North Korea), cyber security, counter terrorism and maritime security (South and East China Seas).

ASEM Facts & Figures 

ASEM is a unique, informal platform for political dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe launched in 1996.

It brings together 53 partners, including 51 European and Asian countries, the EU, and the ASEAN Secretariat.

ASEM partners represent together 55% of global trade, 60% of the global population, 60% of global GDP and 75% of global tourism.

The ASEM summit takes place every two years, in Asia and in Europe alternatively, to set out the priorities of the partnership. Ministerial meetings are organized in between the ASEM summits.

ASEM Cultural Festival 2019: strengthening “cultural connectivity”

There are many ways to build stronger ties between Asia and Europe, and one of the most powerful ones is culture. This is the driving force behind ASEM Cultural Festival, the main official side event of ASEMFMM14. Under the theme Asia & Europe: Cultures Connect, this year’s edition will celebrate the vast diversity of traditional and contemporary cultural creativity in Asia and Europe, while establishing an artistic dialogue between the two continents. 

The prestigious Centre for Fine Arts-Brussels (BOZAR) organized the curtain raiser in Brussels on 6 December 2019 in the lead up to the actual festival, which is currently taking  take place in different venues across Madrid between 11 and 15 December. 

A string concert with Japanese and Spanish influences, a performance featuring the deep links between Indian performing arts and Spanish flamenco, a hip-hop performance with dancers from Australia and Cambodia...

This is a just a taste of a festival featuring over 40 artists from more than 10 Asian and European countries who will offer 6 music and dance performances, artistic workshops, a virtual reality exhibition and a special exhibit on ‘ASEAN Cultural Year 2019’.