Connectivity is a clear megatrend of the 21st century. The rapidly expanding interdependence between world regions provides unprecedented opportunities to enhance the well-being, safety and resilience of countries and societies. But it also raises new challenges, in particular as global power shifts put pressure on the rules-based multilateral order that has been the lifeline of global stability and prosperity in past decades. Against this backdrop, strengthening ties between Europe and other world regions – and especially like-minded partners – is imperative and requires new channels for constructive dialogue, enhanced cooperation and mutually beneficial exchanges.
In 2018 the EU adopted a Communication on Connecting Europe and Asia: Building Blocks for an EU Strategy, and the first Europa Connectivity Forum focus on this dimension, reflecting the existing close cooperation between the EU and its Asia-Pacific partners and the growing economic weight of the Euro-Asia-Pacific space, which accounts for 65% of world GDP, and contributed 71% of global growth in 2018. The focus reflects also the practical progress made with our Asian partners, in particular Japan, to create a joint framework for global action in this field.