On Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 October 2010, the prestigious premises of the Royal Palace located in the centre of Brussels will be home to the eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 8). The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, led by the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere, is in charge of Summit preparations.
This biennial international meeting brings together the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the 27 Member States of the European Union and 16 Asian countries, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. It aims at enhancing the dialogue on current political, economic, financial and socio-cultural issues. It also is an important platform to stimulate rapprochement and partnership among participants. ASEM 8 will in addition officially welcome new members Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
The identification of the substance of ASEM 8, coordinated by host country Belgium, has resulted in a balanced agenda comprising subjects of a priority interest for both Asia and Europe. As decided by the participants, the sessions will successively address ‘global economic governance’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘global issues including human rights, disaster relief, non proliferation, terrorism and organized crime’, ‘regional issues’ as well as ‘people-to-people contacts’, ‘visibility’ and ‘future of ASEM’.
Nearly all ASEM partners will be represented at the highest level. The Prime Minister of Belgium Yves Leterme, as Summit host, is therefore delighted to welcome the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the Korean President Lee Myung- Bak, the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and virtually all ASEAN leaders on the Asian side. On the European side, leaders have also confirmed their participation, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero. The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso is naturally also taking part. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, will lead the discussions.