Norway in 10th ASEM Finance Ministers’ meeting

The Norwegian Deputy Finance Minister Hilde Singsaas participated in the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Finance Ministers’ meeting in Bangkok which was held on 14 and 15 October 2012. This participation marked the first time Norway was represented in this forum.

The ASEM is an informal trans-regional platform for dialogue and cooperation between the two regions and has risen out of a mutual recognition that the relationship between Asia and Europe needs to be strengthened in light of the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

The discussions in Bangkok were chaired by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong, and focused on how to share Asia’s dynamic growth with Europe and the rest of the world so as to resume prosperity to both regions.

The Norwegian Deputy Finance Minister in her intervention emphasised the importance of human capital and employment to economic growth and welfare.

The outcome of the meeting will be reported to the 9th ASEM Summit of Heads of Government and State in Vientiane, Laos, on 5-6 November 2012, where Norway, Switzerland and Bangladesh will be formally admitted as new members.

ASEM was initiated in 1996 when 15 EU member states, seven ASEAN member states, plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission met in Bangkok, Thailand.

ASEM saw the first enlargement during the 5th ASEM Summit in the year 2004 in Hanoi where the 10 new EU Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and three new ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) became officially part of the ASEM process.

The second round of enlargement in 2007 brought in Bulgaria, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania and the ASEAN Secretariat. In October 2010, the 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels welcomed Australia, New Zealand and Russia to the ASEM process.

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