EU, Asia committed to more economic cooperation

April 19, 2010 10:42 am 

MADRID, April 19 — Spain's Finance Minister Elena Salgado on Sunday said that the EU and Asia commitment to strengthening economic cooperation was a result of lessons learned from the economic crisis.

Salgado was speaking at the end of Sunday's ASEM meeting which brought together finance ministers from both parts of the world in Madrid

"The crisis has highlighted the need for greater cooperation given the global nature of our economic system. Therefore, I think that the lessons that we have learned from this crisis will make us reinforce cooperation links between Europe and the Asian countries," said Salgado, who was acting as host for the event.

The Spaniard highlighted the positive signs from the Asian economies in relation to Europe, where Spain, for example is still in recession.

"There are greater signs of recovery in the Asian continent," said Salgado. "In Europe, the signs, although positive, are still quite small. It has been shown that we are quite vulnerable to external shocks, but much less than a decade ago," she added, saying that change was down to structural reforms.

Even so, she commented that the EU must continue to better coordinate monetary policies and avoid forms of protectionism.

"We European countries know that we must pay more attention to our global competitiveness and the productivity of our economies. We must face the challenges of an ageing population from the social perspective as well as the balance of public accounts," concluded Salgado.

Meanwhile President of the Asian Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, spoke about the highlighted importance of his continent to the global economic recovery, stressing that "approximately 75 percent of global recovery comes from countries like China, India, Vietnam or Indonesia."

"The ADB has elaborated an economic prevision for all ASEM countries except Japan, Australia and New Zealand and the prospects are good: an estimated 7.5 growth this year and next and decreasing inflation, we can say that the recovery in Asia is quite solid," added Kuroda.

Kuroda commented on the need for balance and the importance of stimulating internal demand and added that Asia can learn from the European models of cooperation.

The ASEM meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. And as well as Kuroda, the director of European Affairs of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ajai Chopra, and the president of the European Central Bank, Jean- Claude Trichet, were also present.

ASEM has been the main multilateral communication and dialogue channel between Asia and Europe since 1996. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM

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