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1 Presented by Melissa H. Conley Tyler, National Executive Director Australian Institute of International Affairs Australia and ASEM: the First Two Years

2 I. ASEM: Aims and Structure II. Australia and ASEM III. Judging ASEM’s Success IV. Future of ASEM Outline

3 I. ASEM: Aims and Structure

4 What is ASEM? “An interregional association with no formal binding powers, which provides a framework for political, economic and cultural cooperation and exchange over the cross-cutting issues between these two regions” Radhia Oudjanai, “EU-Asia Relations” in European Foreign Policy, from rhetoric to reality

5 Objectives Objectives:  Strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership  Focusing on three pillars: 1.political dialogue 2.economic cooperation, cultural and educational issues  Organised as an informal process of dialogue and cooperation:  No founding treaty or charter  No secretariat: the only ASEM institution is the non-profit Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) based in Singapore

6 Activities Main Feature:  Leaders’ Summits every two years, alternating between European and Asian locations  During the Summits leaders give overall direction and set agenda Between Summits:  Ministerial meetings and meetings of senior officials are organised on political, economical, social and cultural issues of mutual interest  For example, the 10th ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting will be held in Bangkok on 15 October 2012 Theme of Discussions:  From the initial emphasis on economic cooperation to human rights, rule of law, global health threats, sustainable development and intercultural/interfaith dialogue

7 Eight Summits to date alternating between Europe and Asia Leaders’ Summits

8 Ministers’ and Officials’ Meetings

9 Membership When Australia joined 48

10 Membership When Australia joined 48: 27 EU Member States and the European Commission, with 19 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat

11 Membership When Australia joined 48: 27 EU Member States and the European Commission, with 19 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat

12 Enlargement of ASEM 1996: Creation of ASEM Launched in Bangkok in 1996, following a Franco-Singaporean initiative, to strengthen dialogue between Asia and Europe Initial partnership between 15 EU member states and 7 ASEAN member states, plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission. 2004 - 5th ASEM Summit in Hanoi: first enlargement 10 new EU Member States plus 3 new ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) 2007: Second enlargement Bulgaria, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania and the ASEAN Secretariat 2010 - 8th ASEM Summit: three new member states Australia, New-Zealand and Russia initially in a temporary third grouping 2012: Three further member states Norway, Switzerland, Bangladesh

13 Comparing Membership

14 Key Features of ASEM Informality  An open forum for policy makers and officials to discuss any political, economy and social issues of common interest Multi-dimensionality  Covers the full spectrum of relations between members and devotes equal weight to political, economic and social/cultural dimensions Emphasis on equal partnership  Process of dialogue based on mutual respect and mutual benefit Dual focus on high-level and people-to-people  A platform for meeting of heads of states or governments, ministers and senior officials  An increasing focus on promoting people-to-people contact between societies

15 Key Features of ASEM Asia Europe Foundation Goals: Strengthen Asia-Europe ties Create shared experiences for learning and dialogue Enhance mutual understanding Explore opportunities for cooperation Tangible Results: In the last 14 years, the ASEF has brought together more than 15,000 people from Asia and Europe and implemented over 500 projects covering the areas of Economy & Society, Environment & Sustainable Development, Public Health, Arts & Culture, Education & Academic Cooperation, Human Rights & Governance, and Intercommunal Dialogue.

16 II. Australia and ASEM

17 ASEM 8 Content and results  Brussels (Belgium), October 2010  49 Heads of State & Government (HoSGs) attended: well-balanced between Asia and Europe  Most substantial discussion: Global Economic Governance Joint Declaration on Improving Global Economic Governance  Other discussions: Sustainable Economic Development Policies Global Issues (political, security > terrorism, piracy, etc.) Regional Issues Asia-Europe People-to-People Issues and Relations (transport modes, networks, tourism, business & academic links)  Asia-Europe Business Forum and Asia-Europe Parliamentary Forum  Result: ASEM 8 Chair Statement

18 ASEM 9 When and Where?  Vientiane, Laos, 5-6 November 2012 Theme  “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity” Main Challenges  Context of financial crisis: macro-economic policy making (reform of the international financial and regulatory architecture) as a key subject of discussion  TEIN: Trans Eurasia Information Network as a project to provide administrative (internet connection) and technical support for academics  Expanding membership of ASEM: Logistical challenges for working methods Problems of coordination, transparency and flexibility Need to reinforce ASEM’s administrative support

19 Australia’s View Benefits of ASEM:  Opportunity to meet at leaders’ level with key European and Asian leaders  Platform to promote relations with Europe, including European countries with which Australia shares no other memberships  Opportunity for bilateral side meetings with leaders  Ministerial and officials’ meetings  Working with Asia group members on coordination  Promoting G20 agenda and enabling G20 outreach  A seat at the table According to Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith, joining ASEM: “will advance Australia’s national interests. It will strengthen Australia’s ties with two regions of great importance to Australia’s prosperity and security. It will allow Australia to make a contribution to efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia.” (2009)

20 Australia’s View Areas for Improvement:  Moving from temporary third category to Asia group – achieved  Improvements to Summit process to promote genuine dialogue  Avoiding polarisation – one of the drawbacks of interregional dialogue Opportunity: Australia can effectuate compromises and key decisions as mediator (Murray, 2010a)

21 III.Judging ASEM’s Success

22  “If, and it is a very big if... if a regime or institution is measured by the amount of academic attention it receives - in terms of peer reviewed academic journal articles and the number of PhD candidates wishing to work on the subject - then ASEM is up there with the United Nations as a serious element in global governance” In David Camroux (2006), “The Rise and Decline of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM): Asymmetric Bilateralism and the Limitations of Interregionalism”, Les Cahiers européens de Sciences Po  Scholars are divided into two camps, the realistic and the pessimistic Measuring Results to Date

23 The Realistic Camp For scholars such as Paul Lim and Michael Reiterer:  Flexibility: many different joint ventures and initiatives can emerge  Wide membership: ASEM is the largest institutional framework regarding Europe-Asia relations  Common positions: The institution allows heads of states to meet and set common grounds before global-multilateral meetings such as the World Trade Organization or the United Nations General Assembly

24 The Pessimistic Camp For scholars such as Christopher Dent or Lay Hwee Yeo:  Under-institutionalization: the absence of secretariat makes it harder for the agenda-setting  Lack of integration between Asian countries  Lack of biding decisions over members “ASEM in on the way to turning into a ‘pleasant’ platform for inter-organizational exchange, but nothing more (Jappe Eckhardt, 2005)”  Wide membership Some Asian countries belong to sub-regional organisations (i.e. ASEAN, SAARC) Some others have no membership in any regional organisation in Asia (i.e. Mongolia)

25 Members’ Perspectives ASEM members have a more positive view:  Enthusiasm is renewed after each summit Example: Norway  Joining ASEM had been a priority: shared interests between the country and Asia at the economic, environmental and energetic level (Stoltenberg, 2012)  Norwegian sovereign wealth fund invested ~USD 80 billion in Asian equities  Asia had a growing interest in Norway’s policies on the High North including the Arctic  Summit = a great opportunity to exchange ideas and build new partnerships

26 Members’ Perspectives Laos’ President Mr Choummaly Sayasone:  Over the last 16 years, ASEM has become an important forum for discussion on strategic issues  Emphasis on the importance of enhancing cooperation, integration and mutual support between Asia and Europe for attaining sustainable development Members use the meetings as an opportunity to hold bilateral discussions and promote their foreign policy agendas

27 Expanding Objectives A Dialogue Facilitator  A dialogue platform to address international matters, a dialogue process as well as a delivery instrument A Policy-Making Laboratory  Creating a permanent process of consultation  Promoting an open and inclusive dialogue: to develop and test new ideas for future policy-making  Fostering an informal discussion: an opportunity to work towards negotiated solutions, especially in areas of disagreement Managing Growing Europe-Asia Relations  A new layer of cooperation, enhancing synergies in Europe-Asia relations  A catalyst for overall Asia-Europe relations and a complement to other levels of relations between the two regions

28 IV.The Future of ASEM

29 Future Outlook ASEM does not – and is not expected to – make major changes to international relations, but it is seen as useful by its members.  Many policy-makers would be in favour of a permanent secretariat However:  ASEM was set up as a dialogue organisation and such deep change is unlikely to get political support

30 Future Outlook Two Major Threats: 1. Greater competition with other leader level summits 2. Great difference between the two regions that ASEM was established to bridge (European Regionalism vs Asian Nationalism)

31 Asian Regionalism Regional Architecture rather than Integrated Regionalism:  A framework of architecture based on open regionalism: ASEAN Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ASEAN Regional Forum ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ASEM East Asia Summit (EAS) ASEAN way of consultation, consensus and adherence to state sovereignty

32 EU Regionalism An ‘institutions plus embedded norms’ framework  Supranational institutions alongside intergovernnmentalism  Treaty basis  Body of norms, decisions and practices developed over time A highly integrated regionalism  Regulatory-based  Shared sovereignty  Supranational institutions  Partly-achieved security community An organisation in the process of further integration  Monetary integration  Sovereign debt crisis could lead to further fiscal integration

33 Normative Foundations European Union Normative Foundation  Democracy, human rights and individual liberty  Reduction of national sovereignty through creation of organisations able to override national governments Asian Normative Foundation  Nationalism and statist power  “Asian values” The “ASEAN Way”  Norms of behaviour and interaction  Principles of non-interference and respect for the core issue of sovereignty  Peaceful resolution of conflicts  Practice of consensus and consultation and avoidance of confrontation

34 Prospects for ASEM  potential: European and Asian concepts of regionalism could enrich each other (Murray, 2010b)  danger: inter-regional conversation could become one of competing blocs; Asia vs Europe debate Hopefully, ASEM’s openness, flexibility and evolutionary nature will keep the dialogue positive Australia could play an active role promoting positive dialogue

35 Prospects for ASEM  The “Swiss Army Knife” of International Organisations?  Likely Reforms

36 Presented by Melissa H. Conley Tyler, National Executive Director Australian Institute of International Affairs Australia and ASEM: the First Two Years

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