It is a true pleasure for me to participate in this ASEM Summit.
I would like to congratulate and thank our Cambodian hosts for all your excellent work in preparing this Summit so successfully. Last time we met, it was in Brussels three years ago. Following two postponements, I am pleased that we are meeting again - even if virtually. We would all prefer to meet in person, but we all know it is not possible, because of the circumstances.
ASEM marks the highlight of the Asia-Europe dynamics this year. We also celebrate its 25th Anniversary, an excellent opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved all together and set out aspirations for the future.
ASEM is a unique platform for political dialogue between ourselves, between our policy makers, business and labour organisations, academics, think tanks and media, as well as our young people. ASEM has acted as a breeding ground for new policy ideas since its very inception.
Multilateral cooperation, and a strong Europe-Asia relationship in particular, is crucial for our global recovery. Covid-19 has impacted every country and region of the world, and every aspect of our lives. It shows how interconnected we are.
We believe it is important for all ASEM partners to work together to “build back better” - in a more green, digital, sustainable, and inclusive way.
Going forward, we in Europe, want to expand our engagement with Asia on climate and biodiversity. Our two regions will need to accelerate common efforts to reduce emissions, strengthen adaptation and resilience, scale up finance and investments, and protect and restore nature.
Another major area of our cooperation is connectivity. We would like to advance ASEM’s work on a sustainable and rules-based approach to connectivity, built on transparency and trust.
The pillar of all European Union’s actions will remain our commitment to universal democratic rights and fundamental freedoms.
We know many Asian partners share our view: they want to determine their political future and have their rights protected.
We believe in an open and rules-based international order. We are convinced that security and prosperity go hand in hand.
Europe is a respectful, loyal and predictable partner. We are ready to deepen our cooperation and work with all of you for the benefit of all our citizens. Thank you