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Bern, Press release, 09.03.2012

Swiss candidacy to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was accepted at the ASEM Senior Officials Meeting on 1 March. The Swiss government (Federal Council) is pleased to have the opportunity to work with ASEM and sees it as a useful new foreign policy instrument. ASEM is the main forum for dialogue between Asia and Europe, representing today 60% of the world’s population, and 60% of world trade.

The candidacies of Switzerland and Norway were approved at the ASEM Senior Officials Meeting held in Copenhagen on 1-2 March. Switzerland will become a full member of the ASEM; integrated within the European group. This new membership is in line with one of the strategic priorities of Swiss foreign policy for the current legislature, namely the development and diversification of international partnerships and strengthening of Switzerland’s multilateral engagement.

Switzerland submitted its candidacy to ASEM membership in March 2011. As a member, Switzerland will be able to participate in ASEM Summits, which every two years bring together heads of state and government, as well as in ministerial meetings and thematic working groups. The Confederation will be formally admitted as a member of the ASEM when attending its first Summit in Laos, 5-6 November.

ASEM is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation in political, economic and cultural affairs, with the objective of strengthening existing relationships between the countries concerned in Asia and Europe. Its usefulness has been demonstrated in recent years, notably through discussions on the reform of the international financial system and a new architecture for financial markets, as well as in the framework of preparations for the Cancun Climate Summit.

Founded in Bangkok in 1996, ASEM responds to the need of strengthening the dialogue between Asia and Europe. The Summits held every other year are attended by the heads of state and government of the 27 European Union member states, of the 10 ASEAN member states and of nine other states: China, Japan, Russia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand.


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