For Switzerland, the Asia-Europe Meeting is an important component of its foreign policy on Asia. Switzerland finances or supports various initiatives and concrete projects with member states and with the ASEF in priority areas of Swiss foreign policy.
Switzerland in the Asia-Europe Meeting
Switzerland joined the ASEM in 2012 during the 9th ASEM Summit in Vientiane, Laos. Switzerland is part of ASEM’s European group, and despite not being member of the European Union regularly participates in internal EU meetings at which ASEM-related issues are discussed. The Swiss ambassador to Singapore has a seat on the ASEF board of governors and the executive board. ASEF promotes exchanges between Europe and Asia and contributes to enhancing mutual understanding.
ASEM conferences are a good way for Switzerland to gain an overview of the relationships between the regions, and they facilitate multilateral dialogue with all ASEM member states. They are also an efficient platform for Asian and European partners to meet on a bilateral basis.
Switzerland’s priorities within ASEM
Switzerland’s participation in ASEM pursues two axes of strategic action:
ASEM fulfils an important political role as a platform for dialogue between Europe and Asia, where regional and international issues of common interest and concern can be openly discussed. In line with this position, Switzerland systematically participates at the highest level at ASEM conferences.
Switzerland finances or supports various initiatives and concrete projects with ASEM member states and with ASEF in priority areas of Swiss foreign policy, such as the promotion of human rights, good governance, training and young people, and sustainable development initiatives.
Swiss support for initiatives and projects
Switzerland supports ASEF with an annual core contribution and through various projects such as the
Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, the Asia-Europe Public Diplomacy Training Initiative – an ongoing project that started in 2013, providing courses to people working in the field of foreign relations and diplomacy – or the Model ASEM and Model ASEM Spin-off Editions, which give young people the opportunity to experience international relations through simulating multilateral negotiations. Model ASEMs take place in several countries, amongst them Switzerland.