At the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit in Mongolia on 15-16 July 2016, Leaders took the decision to designate 1 March as ASEM Day, to highlight the ASEM process and the importance of connecting Europe and Asia in all areas.
ASEM day is a day to promote cooperation, partnership and connectivity between Asia and Europe, a day to celebrate the importance of connecting the two continents, based on the principles of equal partnership and mutual respect.
The very first ASEM Summit was held in of Bangkok on 1 March 1996. Over its 22 years of existence, and with its 53 partners, ASEM has proven its worth as the key platform that brings together Europe's and Asia's leading policymakers, business representatives and civil society actors across its three pillars – political, economic and cultural - in a spirit of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefit. ASEM is the major platform linking Europe and Asia.
ASEM plays a vital role as ideas laboratory and dialogue framework, representing 60% of the world's population, 60% of global GDP and 60% of global trade. In today's volatile world, the ASEM process has a new sense of purpose and momentum as a key platform for promoting open, rules-based international cooperation.
In 2017, there was the ASEM Ministerial Meetings of Education Ministers (May, South Korea), Economic Ministers (September, South Korea), Transport Ministers (September, Indonesia) and Foreign Ministers (November, Myanmar), as well numerous workshops, seminars and conferences in Europe or in Asia-Pacific on topics ranging from development (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals) via human rights to water management and climate change.
In 2018 we will have on 1 – 2 March the 8th ASEM Cultural Ministers' Meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria and the 13th ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting on 26 April in Sofia, Bulgaria.
On the 18 and 19 October 2018 the European Union will be hosting and chairing the 12th ASEM Summit with as title ‘Global Partners for Global Challenges’. This will be the biggest Summit taking place in Europe this year and the highlight on the calendar of Asia-Europe relations. Presidents and Prime Ministers from 53 partner countries will come together to discuss pressing global challenges – and how to chart a common response.