The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Today, ASEM comprises 53 Partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. Its main aim is to provide a platform for promoting political dialogue, strengthening economic cooperation and addressing global challenges on the Eurasian continent.
ASEM meetings take place every two years, alternately in Europe and Asia.
The first ASEM transport ministerial meetings were held in 2009 and 2011, respectively in Vilnius, Lithuania and Chengdu, China.
During Latvia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Ministry of Transport organised 3rd Transport Ministers' Meeting renewing regular cooperation in this format and giving new impetus to the dialogue between ASEM partners.
Riga Declaration was adopted at the ASEM Transport Ministers' Meeting providing a commitment by Member States to strengthen cooperation in the field of transport by creating an integrated, sustainable, and efficient road transport system including intermodal solutions between Asia and Europe
Through the meeting ministers discussed the common vision for the development of transport connections between Europe and Asia, emphasising the importance of interconnectivity between these regions, which directly impacts economic prosperity and sustainable development.
Additionally, participants supported the intention to expand transport networks in order to adapt to the increased volumes of trade between Asia and Europe, particularly with regard to Trans-Eurasia land transport corridors as an alternative or complementary to traditional ocean routes.
At the ASEM Transport Ministers' Meeting special role was devoted to transcontinental rail connections given the growing popularity of rail transport as an environmentally friendly mode of transport in Asia and Europe.
Meeting in Riga not only brought together all key stakeholders: ASEM Transport Ministers, representatives of the European Commission and other European Union officials, as well as officials of other international institutions and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, a business forum with ASEM transport and logistics entrepreneurs was also held. The organization of the business forum was a new and successful addition to the classic ASEM format.
In addition, the ASEM coordinating partner institute was established with one of the ASEM member states taking on a coordinating role for two years, one year before and one year after the ministerial meeting, and then handing over the baton to the next country. Thus, on March 16-17, 2016 a meeting of senior ASEM transport officials took place in Riga with Latvia concluding coordination and handing over responsibility to Indonesia.
The fourth meeting of ASEM Transport Ministers (ASEM TMM4) took place on June 26-28, 2017 in Bali, Indonesia. The theme of meeting was "Connecting Asia and Europe through integrated transport connectivity and synergized regional strategic plans".
The fifth ASEM Transport Ministers Meeting (ASEM TMM5) took place on December 10-11, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary.
The sixth meeting is planned in Asia.