Regional Fora

ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) composed of ten members (Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam) and is the most important forum for regional integration in South East Asia. Increasingly close economic ties are developed with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN + 3). During the anniversary summit in 2007 members signed the ASEAN charter, conferring legal status to the organization. ASEAN’s long-term objective is the formation of an Asian community based on three pillars (a security, economic and socio-cultural community).

The EU and ASEAN hold a biennial dialogue at ministerial level since 1978 that takes place biennially. The EU and ASEAN aim at intensified cooperation. The EU signed a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in South East Asia at the foreign ministers’ meeting with ASEAN on July 12th. 

ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum)

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only permanent multilateral body in the Asian-Pacific region dealing with security issues. It comprises the ten ASEAN member states and the ten ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States), as well as Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. The ARF was set up by ASEAN in 1994 as a discussion forum for security policy. Apart from the annual meetings at ministerial level, expert meetings are also held which focus, inter alia, on confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy, transnational crime, piracy and disaster relief.


The East-Asia-Summit is an annual summit meeting of 16 countries of the region that always follows the ASEAN Summits. The first meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2005. The EAS serves as a forum for strategic dialogue. The ten ASEAN states as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the USA are participating.

APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), founded in 1989, is composed of 21 Asian-Pacific members (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, China Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, USA and Vietnam). Their aims are trade and investment liberalization, trade facilitation as well as economic and technical cooperation.

TPP (Transpacific Partnership)

Currently negotiations are held to form a deep and comprehensive pacific partnership agreement that includes the USA, Japan, Canada and other nations in the region.

SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation)

The (SAARC) was set up in 1985. It comprises eight South Asian states (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). SAARC mainly pursues economic, social and cultural goals. Contradictory positions and bilateral conflicts (especially between India and Pakistan) limit the SAARC’s effectiveness. The EU first took part as an observer in 2007.

ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting)

ASEM is a process based on the idea of partnership between European and Asian countries. Established in 1996 in Bangkok, participants are the 28 EU member states and the European Commission, Switzerland, Norway, the 10 ASEAN member states and the ASEAN secretariat as well as China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Mongolia and since 2012  Russia, Australia and New Zealand. ASEM offers a framework for political, economic, and cultural cooperation. Global issues such as environment and climate, energy, non-proliferation, migration, human rights, counter-terrorism as well as economic and financial cooperation are discussed.

ASEF (Asia-Europe Foundation)

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) was established in 1997 by the ASEM partners to implement common projects. The foundation engages in the fields of economy, P2P, environment, sustainable development, public health, arts and culture, education and scientific cooperation, human rights, good governance and intercultural