The heads of state and government from ASEM partner countries, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN noted that ASEM has grown from 26 partners to 53 over the last twenty years. They reaffirmed that ASEM has been, and continues to be, an important factor in shaping the global setting in the 21st century by contributing to sustained peace, security, stability, andeconomic recovery, and by responding to global and regional challenges. ASEM has made contributions to fostering greater understanding between Asia and Europe; broadening political dialogue, enhancing economic cooperation, and increasing socio-cultural exchanges; strengthening Asia-Europe inter-connectedness, shaping and forging links and mutually beneficial, multi-layered cooperation for peace and development; creating opportunities for broader people-to-people connections, including through the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF); addressing the challenges faced by both regions, as well as at the inter-regional and global levels; and promoting effective multilateralism and strengthening other multilateral processes. ASEM partner countries reaffirmed that the ASEM process should be promoted on the basis of equal partnership, mutual respect, and mutual benefit in the spirit of consensus. They decided to designate a day for ASEM, "Asia Meets Europe/Europe Meets Asia Day", and recommended celebrating it annually on March 1, or any other day during the first week of March as appropriate, with a view to underlining ASEM’s importance and raising its visibility. To lead ASEM successfully into its third decade, ASEM's members made a commitment to reinforcing their partnerships; to focus on cooperation for tangible benefits; to foster connectivity in all dimensions; and to promote informality, networking, and flexibility as they move towards the next decade.
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