(Brussels) “Europe and Asia: global partners for global challenges” – this is the title of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that kicked off yesterday in Brussels and will end this afternoon. With inclusive growth and connectivity on the agenda, the Summit brings together the Heads of State or Government of 51 European and Asian countries, representatives of the European Union, and the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The meeting is chaired by European Council President Donald Tusk. Representing the European Union is also Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. The leaders seek to “strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two continents in a wide range of areas, including: trade and investment, connectivity, sustainable development and climate, security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber security, and irregular migration”. The ASEM Summit will be followed by the EU-Korea Summit and an EU-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. The EU-Asian partners together account for 55% of global trade, 60% of the world’s population, 65% of global GDP, and 75% of global tourism. Numerous side events will be held during the Summit, including parliamentary meetings, a Young Leaders Summit, and the ASEM Business Forum. Yesterday also marked the opening of the Asia-Europe Cultural Festival in Brussels, which will remain open to the public until 30 October.