Prime Minister of Belgium

Leaders representing half of the world’s wealth, almost sixty percent of the world’s population and sixty percent of global trade will gather in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. The Kingdom of Belgium, which takes on the presidency of the European Union from July 1st to December 31st, is extremely honoured to host the eighth Summit of the soon to be 45 Heads of State and Government of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The importance of the meeting, and of the ASEM process as a whole, can hardly be overstated. ASEM involves virtually the whole of Asia and Europe. It is the main multilateral channel for communication and dialogue between Asia and Europe since its creation in 1996.

The government of Belgium is fully committed to make the Summit a success. That the meeting will take place in the Royal Palace in Brussels underlines the importance we attach to it.

Communication, coordination and cooperation between the European Union, the world’s main trading partner, on the one hand, and the vibrant old and new economies of Asia on the other, are indeed of paramount importance for the harmonious development of our world.

In that respect, the theme of the Summit, “Improving the Quality of Life”, has been well chosen. As Belgium stated at the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hanoi last year, we should take on the economic challenges as an opportunity to promote the quality of life, to address what really matters to our societies and populations. That includes sustainable economic development, social responsibility, a rules based society, energy security, environmental excellence, food security and public health.

A very important event alongside the Summit will be the major exhibition on 25 centuries of cultural and trade relations between Asia and Europe. This exhibition in BOZAR, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, will be a world première, in that it brings together for the first time major works of art of all the Asian countries involved. It will make the reality of the Asia Europe Meeting visible, accessible and attractive to large audiences.

My sincere thanks go to all those involved in the preparation of the ASEM 8 Summit. I promise them the full cooperation of the Belgian government.

Prime Minister
Kingdom of Belgium

Yves Leterme