The summit of the Asia-Europe Forum (ASEM), which brings together 51 countries, began today with the aim of improving connections and giving a clear message of support for multilateralism, as well as asserting its capacity to face global challenges and climate change.
"Together we represent 60% of the global population, 65% of the global economy and 75% of global tourism, we should make use of that impressive weight to face the global challenges," said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to intervene in the opening of the meeting, which will be followed by a gala dinner with King Philip of the Belgians.
Tusk made clear the importance of establishing common actions in "clear rules" and "not compromising the rules on which the world order is based", at a time when the Government of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, questions the multilateralism
For his part, the Austrian chancellor and current president of the Council of the European Union (EU), Sebastian Kurz, stressed that this partnership is "more important than ever".
He specifically referred to the challenge of climate change and that "people trust less in multilateralism," but expressed hope that, together, the two continents can "face these challenges."
The president of Mongolia, Battulga Khaltmaa, highlighted the need to strengthen the connections, one of the main topics of the summit, for which the working group created for this purpose in a previous meeting will explore more opportunities for cooperation.
Other issues that will be addressed by the leaders of the two zones are security challenges such as terrorism or non-proliferation, cyber attacks and irregular immigration.
In fact, the EU will sign tomorrow with Singapore on the margins of the meeting free trade agreements, investment protection and cooperation, as well as an agreement with Vietnam on forest law enforcement, management and trade.
In parallel to the summit of leaders, businessmen from both continents stressed in a meeting the importance of "deepening and expanding" the relationship between Asia and Europe.
"Europe and Asia want to intensify their economic cooperation and agree that an open trade based on standards is a key priority for both regions," BusinessEurope president Peter Gattaz said in a statement.
He stressed the need to "respect market rules, transparency, public procurement and equal conditions for all", as "the basis for better connecting Europe and Asia".
The EU foreign ministers adopted in a Council conclusions in which they asked that the strengthening of this greater connection between the two continents be made on "high standards of social and environmental protection", in addition to "inspired by the internal market" community, to "achieve greater levels of equality" and "ensure respect for individual rights."
The European employers highlighted the Asian Development Bank's estimates of the demand for infrastructure in that continent: $ 1.7 trillion annually.
The high representative of the EU for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, rejected that this is an "antiTrump" summit, when asked about such an extreme upon her arrival at the meeting.
"We do not organize meetings against anyone, we have a very clear agenda, we support multilateralism," he emphasized.
Mogherini said that this summit will also address security issues such as the situation on the Korean peninsula or the nuclear agreement with Iran, of which the United States has been unmarked.
In this regard, he stressed that the EU and Asia maintain "the same position" on "the need to maintain the agreement and that Iran fully comply with its nuclear commitments."
The head of community diplomacy also indicated that they will focus on issues that "are very worrying, particularly about human rights", such as the situation of the Muslim minority Rohinyá, victim of violence in Burma, displaced outside the country.
The summit has been attended by Russia, a country to which the EU maintains sanctions for its role in the separatist crisis in eastern Ukraine, its prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev.