The purpose of this project was to assess, in an empirical and factual manner, the recent functioning of ASEM ever since the 2006 Helsinki ASEM summit. First, it took stock by presenting data on the topics in four ASEM summits or four Foreign Ministers (FMM) meetings, and their distribution over the three ASEM pillars:
Pillar 1: political,
Pillar 2: economic and related,
Pillar 3: people-to-people & cultural & education.
This study includes considerable empirical details on the ‘follow-ups’ both from summits and from FMMs. Second, a detailed analysis of the implementation and functioning of the ASEM ‘working methods’, has been conducted insofar as this is possible from the ‘outside’. Conclusions and recommendations have been included in the final report. In accordance with its broad mission, ASEM works on an incredibly wide range of policy issues and at many levels, from summits all the way to technical expert meetings. This broad mission is pursued whilst remaining faithful to ASEM’s character of informality, networking and flexibility. Not only does ASEM work consistently on issues in all three ‘pillars’, the combination of its flexibility and the commitment to operate in all three pillars enables ASEM to address topical priority issues following but also shaping the international policy agenda.