Events & News


Asia-Europe Meeting: Challenges of Enlargement

Mr Thomas Roe, Asia Adviser ASEM Counsellor, Asia Directorate, European Commission

6 August 2010

Juniper Room (Level 2), Orchard Hotel Singapore



The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia. It was established in 1996 with an inaugural leaders’ summit in Bangkok and has since developed into a main multilateral channel for communication, with regular meetings between senior officials and ministers from different ministries, and a biennial summit involving heads of states and heads of governments. Membership of ASEM has grown from 26 to 48 members with Russia, Australia and New Zealand looking set to join in 2010 at the 8th ASEM Summit to be held in Brussels on 4-5 October.

With this latest enlargement of ASEM, and with members including major emerging powers, China, India and Russia, expectations on what could and should be achieved by ASEM inevitably differ. The engagement within and among such a diverse group of nation-states and regional groupings (EU and ASEAN), and also other actors such as the business community and civil society also means that there is a need to rethink the working methods and the coordination process in order to preserve and further enhance the ASEM forum.

In the public lecture on 6th August, Mr Thomas Roe, the Asia Adviser and ASEM Counsellor from the European Commission, responsible for coordinating the ASEM process shared with us his personal insights and perspectives on the challenges and expectations that come with the enlargement of ASEM.

About the speaker
Mr Thomas Roe has been a full-time official of the European Commission, since September 1980 working on Europe’s external relations in a wide variety of roles. He is now Asia Adviser and ASEM Counsellor in the Directorate General for External Relations of the European Commission based in Brussels. Other previous roles have included Head of Delegation of the European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macao (Hong Kong 2004-2008), Desk Officer for Indonesia and East Timor, EU Fellow and Visiting Professor in Globalisation Studies at George Mason University USA Washington DC 2000-2001, Head of the European Community Investment Partners scheme for promoting European direct investment throughout the developing world 1992-1999, Head of the EC Food and Emergency Aid mobilization and delivery service 1989-1992, political desk officer for Southern Africa especially Zambia and Malawi 1984-1988, EC aid co-financing with international financial institutions 1982-1983, and Deputy Head of the Contracts, Accounting and Payments unit for the European Development Fund 1980-1982.