We asked our readers last week to identify the most important issue being discussed at the EU-Asia summit in Brussels on October 4-5. Unsurprisingly, most said global economic governance was the most pressing topic.
The Asia Europe Meeting has been held every other year since 1996 and brings together the leaders of 27 European and 19 Asian countries. At the latest meeting they all agreed that the financial crisis “exposed the weaknesses in the global economic and financial system and has highlighted the interdependence among the world's economies”, but with just a month until a G20 meeting in Korea, there were no commitments of any substance.
European leaders had hoped to press China on making its currency more flexible, but their efforts ran headlong into a great wall of Chinese diplomacy. The only significant achievement during the two days happened in a separate meeting held by Korean and EU trade officials, who signed a free-trade pact.
In total, 56% of voters said global economic issues were the most important, while 26% voted for sustainable development and 18% for global issues, including human rights, disaster relief, non-proliferation, terrorism and organised crime.