The 23rd anniversary of the Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM) is celebrated on 1 March. ASEM is a platform for cooperation between Asian countries and Europe, uniting 51 countries in addition to the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
It is a forum for informal dialogue on political, economic, social and cultural matters. Together, the ASEM member countries represent 60% of the global population, 65% of global GDP, 55% of international trade and 75% of global tourism.
The first ASEM conference was held in Bangkok on 1-2 March 1996. The process expanded to gradually include the 53 current partners. This number was reached at the 10th ASEM Summit hosted by Italy in Milan in October 2014.
Through ASEF, the foundation headquartered in Singapore and the only permanently established institution of ASEM, it also aims to engage civil society and promote cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe.