Asia is a huge continent housing more than 60% of the world's total population, and which stretches physically from Afghanistan to Japan. Morevoer, the scale, cultural diversity, economic disparities and political divisions of Asia are clearly indomitable. In conceiving its relations with Asia, the European Union recognises more and more of these diversities and tries to aknowledge them. In the document 'Europe and Asia'; a strategic framework for enhanced partnerships (published september 2001)has been made. Accordind to it, Asia has been divided into 4 sub-regions : South Asia, South-East Asia, Northwest Asia and Australasia, each with its own priorities and action points. The EU has established a deep relationship with the South-East Asian area and at the same time tries to develop a multilateral dialogue with the other key Asian countries. To which extent are the relations of Europe and Asia is caracterized by the EU-ASEAN relationship or the ASEM process ?
[...] ASEM is the official abbreviation for the Asia-Europe Meeting process that has begun 1996. It is a forum for dialogue to promote better understanding and to engender cooperation among its 26 partners. The origins of the ASEM process lay in a mutual recognition in Asia and Europe that the relations between the two regions needed to be strengthened, to reflect the increased importance of Asia on the world stage, and to move away from a 'aid and trade' relationship towards a more balanced relationship based on equal partnership. [...]
[...] However, together the Eu and Asia can greatly advance the international order, e.g. in the framework of the WTO, in particular to remove non-tariff barriers to trade and investments and to improve the business environment. The euro is also an advantage to be aknowledged by Asia. Europe and its Member States provide about 30% of all foreign external development assistance to Asia. Aimed is to to improve the quality and timeliness of aid and the delivery capacity of European external assistance programmes. [...]
[...] Since April 1996, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) has been intended to serve as the parliamentary counterweight for ASEM. The EU aims to broaden its engagement with Asia : for example in East Timor and in the Korean Peninsula through relations with China and India mainstreaming conflict prevention in our cooperation programmes with Indonesia. There are links to the CFSP to be estblished through regular bilateral and multilateral summits on key security and humanrights issues. In 2000, Asia was the third largest regional trading partner and the fourth-largest regional investment destination for the EU. [...]
[...] Suspended since the entry of Burma into ASEAN in 1997, an EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting took place in December 2000 in Ventiane, Laos. However, EU sanctions on Burma continue as long as Burmese leaders have not ended human rights violations. During the ministerial meeting of Ventiane, the EU and ASEAN approved a joint declaration that touched upon the issue of Burma by calling for a rapid resumption of talks between the military junta of Rangoon and the democratic opposition. b. The Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) The JCC is the only body formally established by the 1980 Cooperation Agreement. [...]
[...] In the important question of how ASEAN is considered by the EU in its overal scheme on Asia one clear response ws given by the communication released in 1994 by the Commission. ASEAN has indeed been given a primary role in the European Union's new strategy for Asia which was adopted in July 1994. This strategy intends to strengthen links between Asia and Europe. The new Asia strategy was given a boost with the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bangkok in 1996. The summit, initiated by ASEAN, was intended to lay down the foundations for a modern concept of Europe-Asia relations. [...]
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