Roundup: Experts call for closer Europe-Asia cooperation on pressing issues

2021-11-25 15:35:37 GMT2021-11-25 23:35:37(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LONDON, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- As the virtual 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit hosted by Cambodia kicked off on Thursday, experts and officials in Europe have underscored the importance of closer Europe-Asia cooperation on pressing global issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change.

In times of profound challenges, countries around the world must uphold multilateralism, they concurred.

"Today, it is clear that no one can stand alone against global challenges and that cooperation between Asia and Europe is extremely needed," Asim Kurjak, full member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, told Xinhua.

Kurjak explained that as he has been leading scientific projects around the world, he sees "how important it is to strengthen multilateralism today."

"There are growing calls for global cooperation, because that is the only way for the world to confront crises like pandemics or climate change," he said.

Tatiana Valovaya, director-general of United Nations (UN) office at Geneva, told Xinhua: "One lesson for me from the pandemic is clear: a situation like the pandemic needs solidarity, needs multilateral response and a global approach, but not the attempts to have national responses, which might be effective for a brief period of time, but not in the long run."

"Now some nations think they can deal with COVID alone through vaccines. But there is no conclusive evidence that is right. In the end we would all benefit from cooperating through WHO (World Health Organization) but the world is not ready for that," Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, told Xinhua.

"There is no doubt that every global challenge to mankind is best dealt with by a unity of nations and their power," he said.

Noting that there has been significant rise in transport costs, prices of products and materials, Mladen Vedris, former deputy prime minister of Croatia, told Xinhua that the logistics that connect the world in the fight against pandemic and climate change, as well as support migration are very vulnerable.

He said the two-day Asia-Europe gathering is important, where the answer will be sought on how to find solutions on a global level and best apply them at home.

Lyazid Benhami, vice-president of the Paris Association of French-Chinese Friendship, told Xinhua: "Unilateralism is dangerous, and multilateralism must also be based on an international organization with expanded powers and responsibilities. It is inconceivable to reduce the influence of the United Nations especially in our time when nationalism is reborn."

The ASEM Summit started on Thursday under the chairmanship of Cambodia, with main focus on multilateralism and post-COVID-19 recovery. The meeting, under the slogan "Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth," was held via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASEM, founded in 1996, is an informal platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Enditem