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) 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 (security, economic and socio-cultural community).

Since 1978 the EU and ASEAN hold a biennial dialogue on ministerial level. The EU and ASEAN aim at intensified cooperation. The EU signed a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation  in South East Asia (TAC) at the foreign ministers´ meeting with ASEAN in July 2012.

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, Sri Lanka 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. In addition to the annual meetings at ministerial level, expert meetings are held focusing, inter alia, on confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy, transnational crime, piracy and disaster relief.


The East-Asia-Summit is an annual summit meeting of 18 countries of the region traditionally combined with ASEAN Summits. The first meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2005. The ten ASEAN states as well as China, Japan, South Korea, India, 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)

The TPP was signed in 2016 by representatives of 12 states (USA, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam). Since the announcement by President Trump to withdraw from the agreement, the future of the TPP is no longer clear.

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 EU, the 28 EU member states plus Switzerland and Norway, the 10 ASEAN member states and the ASEAN secretariat, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China,  India, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Russia. ASEM offers a framework for political, economic, and cultural exchange. Global issues such as environment and climate, energy, non-proliferation, migration, human rights, counter-terrorism as well as economic and financial cooperation are discussed. In 2016, the ASEM process celebrated its 20th anniversary. On this occasion the 1st of March was declared the annual “Asia meets Europe/Europe meets Asia Day”.

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