Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window


Press Releases


ASEM finance ministers discuss challenges in the world economy

Photo: Irena Bremsak

Dr Andrej Bajuk, Slovenian Minister of Finance and current President of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), today attended the meeting of finance ministers from Asia and Europe (ASEM) being held from 14 to 17 June 2008 on Jeju Island in South Korea. He participated in the discussions by presenting common positions of the EU Member States.

Finance ministers from 27 EU Member States and 16 Asian countries, and representatives of the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank, the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank discussed the macroeconomic situation, including developments on financial markets, economic integration in the EU and Asia, financing infrastructure, and market measures for tackling climate change.

The ministers acknowledged the world economy is likely to experience a slowdown of growth in the short term; however, they remain optimistic about long-term economic trends. The risks which the world economy is currently facing resulted from the U.S. economic slowdown, which reduced sources of financing on the world financial market, and from the increased inflation rate, mainly due to high oil and food prices. They stressed that both Asia and the EU are currently much less vulnerable and considerably more resilient to external shocks than they were a decade ago, even though they are not immune to global economic risks. They welcomed appropriate measures that Asian and European countries have introduced to tackle financial shake-ups, together with adopting recommendations of the financial stability forum by the G7 Member States related to the impact of the financial shake-up. Considering that open trade and investment regimes are of key importance for world prosperity and combating protectionism, the ministers stressed the need to successfully complete the Doha Development Agenda, since it may contribute to world growth and the reduction of poverty.

The ministers agreed that some aspects of EU experience are relevant for the current Asian efforts to strengthen regional financial cooperation. European integration has developed from a customs union into a common market and finally into the Economic and Monetary Union. The mechanisms of financial cooperation currently existing in Asia, such as the Chiang Mai initiative, represent a special Asian approach, based at the same time on past EU experience. The ministers also agreed that it is important for Asia to be successful in its efforts to enhance monetary and financial cooperation, since greater regional financial stability would improve the resistance of the Asian economy and the operation of the international monetary system, enable more efficient world economic and financial adjustments, and accordingly reduce world imbalances.

In the field of infrastructure financing, the ministers welcomed the Jeju initiative to strengthen mutual cooperation in the area of public-private partnership between ASEM member states.

With regard to tackling climate change, the ministers stressed that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol are an appropriate and effective framework for international cooperation in combating climate change. They also considered the importance of creating a policy which would provide economic growth and development for developing countries. In this regard, the Slovenian Minister of Finance pointed out the EU’s commitment to combat climate change: "Climate change can be tackled effectively only at the international level, comprising all key world economies. In this regard, the European Union has already created its own comprehensive strategy, which provides for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and an increased use of renewable energy resources."


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 16.06.2008