European leaders expressed their willingness of further cooperation with Asia on a wide range of issues, particularly on sustainable development, at the 9th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) here on Monday.
“The EU will continue its engagement based on the three pillars of partnership agreements, Free Trade Agreements and multilateral cooperation. We stand ready to work on sustainable development,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Both Barroso and the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy emphasized on strong trade relations between the two regions with focus on sustainable development, climate change and promotion of multilateral engagement, during their speeches at the ASEM inauguration.
Recalling that the European Union (EU) has maintained strong ties with Asia through many forums including the G20s and United Nations Summits, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy stressed that the solid relation provides the foundation for stronger cooperation amidst global challenges. “Cooperation to promote peace, human rights, sustainable development and climate change is essential. These will be the same topics that will be focused on when we meet two years from now. We have a historical responsibility to safeguard peace and work together for prosperity and growth. In some way we all belong to the Eurasian continent,” he noted.
Echoing Van Rompuy’s sentiments Barroso pointed out that Europe has a strong stake in Asian growth such as the highest foreign direct investment.