Interview: Economic relations at heart for ASEM: European expert

11:03, October 04, 2010      

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Economy outweighs politics in future challenges faced by the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a European expert said on the eve of the summit.

"Economic relations are at the heart of future challenges, while political relations take a bit of a back seat," David Fouquet, director of the Europe-Asia Project, a research center based in Brussels, said in an interview with Xinhua over the weekend.

Despite economic setback, Europe's relations with Asia are "better than that with other regions of the world," he said.

"Relations between the European Union (EU) and Asia are intense, active and multidimensional, but also filled with uncertainties," Fouquet said, underlining the EU's institutional, political and economical difficulties.

At a time when Asian partners are "mystified" by Europe's current situation, Fouquet said, the ASEM process should restore its secretariat that was functioning as the administrating organ in its early days.

"The ASEM process did not find a way to develop a vehicle for the delivery of concrete results," he said, adding that the process lacks treaty-making power and real structure to achieve tangible outcomes.

He said Europe is experiencing a polar situation and trying to find "its place in the world," as a result of the economic crisis and political uncertainties brought by the transition to the Lisbon Treaty.

On Europe-China relations, Fouquet said there is a lot of enthusiasm, interest, and momentum for both sides to push the bilateral ties to "a much higher degree than relations with other Asian partners."

Still, there remain major problems between Asia and Europe, such as the market access issue. The expert cited the case of Japan, noting that the country was accused of behaving as an unfair competitor 30 years ago.

"Gradually, most of the tensions have declined, and this is what is happening with China," he said.

The EU and Asian leaders will meet in Brussels on Oct. 4 and 5 within the framework of the ASEM, a forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia launched in 1996 to discuss global and regional issues.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:祁澍文)

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