At the 11th ASEM Summit (ASEM11) held on 15-16 July 2016, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, ASEM leaders decided to designate an ASEM Day, "Asia meets Europe/Europe meets Asia Day", and recommended celebrating it annually on 1 March or any other day during the 1st week of March as appropriate, with a view to underlining ASEM's importance and raising its visibility.
ASEM Partners in Asia and Europe joined the celebration, organising activities that drew participants from different sectors, including government, civil society, and the youth.
Belgium Belgium's priorities within the ASEM Process were underscored in a statement: "At the last Summit in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in July 2016, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders called on his Asian and European partners to work together on combating terrorism and violent extremism".
Bulgaria Speakers at the inauguration of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Exhibition, “On the Go” to celebrate ASEM Day underlined the growing importance of ASEM as a platform for dialogue between Europe and Asia, and indicated that 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of ASEF–the only permanent institution of ASEM.
Cambodia Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), His Excellency Prak SOKHONN noted the progress and challenges of ASEM in the past 2 decades of enhancing partnership between the 2 regions. HE SOKHONN was the keynote speaker at the ASEM Day Celebration,“ASEM in the 3rd Decade”, co-organised by the MFAIC in cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), as well as the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
Cyprus In his message the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, His Excellency Mr Ioannis KASOULIDES, said: "Since its inception more than 20 years ago, ASEM has proved its value, especially in connecting Europe and Asia, in bringing the people of the two continents together and in facilitating the trend towards further strengthening their political, economic and cultural activities".
European Union A statement released by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) highlighted the enduring relevance of ASEM – “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”. The next ASEM Summit will be held in Brussels in 2018.
Finland The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland's official Twitter account acknowledged how ASEM has connected Europe and Asia since 1996.
Hungary The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary welcomed ASEM as a “crucial forum” to coordinate and harmonize strategies in tackling the most pressing issues, which it said included “climate change, mass migration and global terrorism” as affecting both continents. “These challenges can only be dealt with shared responsibilities, joint actions, stronger cooperation and growing connectivity between our economies and societies”.
Italy A statement by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted how the ASEM Process has strengthened over the years: "Over the years, the opportunities for exchange and encounter, as well as initiatives to deepen cooperation on specific issues of common interest, including sustainable development, the environment and other issues related to non-traditional security has increased".
Indonesia The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia staged a cultural exhibition and talk show under the theme, “Promoting the Role of ASEM in Connecting the Youth of Asia and Europe”, at the University of Indonesia in Depok. Speakers at the Forum emphasised the importance of connectivity and making ASEM programmes and activities more practical and their benefits accessible to varied stakeholders.
Japan In a statement commemorating ASEM Day, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, His Excellency Fumio KISHIDA highlighted Japan’s role in strengthening cooperation between Asia and Europe: “Japan will hold up high the fundamental values widely shared by States, such as democracy, rule of law and free trade, and continue to take active roles in the ASEM so that the forum will raise its competence in tackling the common challenges the international community faces”.
Latvia The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Latvia issued a press statement emphasising Latvia's role as an ASEM Partner: "Latvia has been part of the ASEM cooperation format since joining the European Union in 2004. This partnership enables Latvia to be part of a major international framework and meet at the highest level with officials from the Asian countries to promote Latvia’s interests both in politics and economics".
Lithuania The official Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania shared in the celebration of unity among ASEM Partners.
Norway More than 80 representatives from the diplomatic community, business, Norwegian parliament, academia and ministries participated in a lively discussion on the theme, “New Global Policy Balances and Power Ambitions in Asia: Consequences for Europe”. The Norwegian Asia Forum was organised by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hosted by State Secretary Ms Tone SKOGEN.
Philippines The Philippines welcomed its role as ASEAN coordinator in ASEM for the term 2017-2018 in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), noting that the country “looks forward to enhancing its cooperation with all ASEM members as partners for change”. The DFA hosted an ASEM Forum, “Prospects for Greater Political-Security Cooperation between Asia and Europe”, at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Poland In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland acknowledged the role of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) as the only permanent institution under the ASEM framework: "The activities within ASEF complement ASEM’s main goal – being a platform of political and economic dialogue between leaders of European and Asian countries".
Romania Citing the importance of celebrating the anniversary of the ASEM Process for the 2 regions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania said in a statement: "Romania will continue to actively promote the objectives and projects established under the auspices of ASEM, on three levels - political, economic and cultural - and appreciated the added value of this format to enhance cooperation between the two regions, according to the principle of mutual trust and developing a balanced partnership between Europe and Asia".
Switzerland About 60 students from Swiss universities experienced first-hand what it takes to be an ASEM delegate. The Model ASEM Switzerland Spin-off 2017 was organised by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland (FDFA) in partnership with DiploFoundation, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), and EPFL Model United Nations (MUN), and supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
Thailand More than 500 people attended 2 separate briefings about ASEM at the Chiang Mai University and Maha Sarakham University, organised by the Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, on the occasion of ASEM Day. The event also promoted upcoming youth projects of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
Viet Nam The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam organised the ASEM Conference on Innovative Education and Human Resource Building for Sustainable Development, drawing participants from 20 cities and provinces of Viet Nam and almost 30 ASEM partner countries.
Photo: (c) European Council President