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Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the 9th ASEM Summit in Vientiane

05.11.2012

-- translation of advance text --

Ladies and gentlemen,

Europe and Asia are partners in globalization. That’s why Europe needs a strong Asia. That’s why Asia needs a strong Europe.

The huge challenges the world faces today can only be mastered if we work together. That goes for both climate action and security policy.

We share a fundamental interest in free world trade and in a viable order for the global financial markets.

That’s why we are working hard together to secure peace and freedom.

Our economies are ever more closely linked to one another. Together we are creating new growth.

The 51 ASEM states already account for more than 60 per cent of world trade. And this figure is set to rise further. Today nobody invests more in Asia than we Europeans. And nobody invests more in Europe than Asian investors.

We want to continue this success story together.

We Europeans are keen to quickly conclude new free trade agreements with India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Viet Nam. We also want to make progress with Indonesia.

It is also in our interest if our Asian partners assume greater global responsibility also in political terms.

We want an Asia whose states work together ever more closely in the political sphere and resolve conflicts peacefully. Asia will grow stronger if the climate in the region is characterized by cooperation rather than confrontation.

Conversely, a healthy Europe and a healthy euro are in the interest of our partners in Asia.

This Europe has tackled the root causes of its debt crisis.

The fiscal compact, the long-term rescue package and the growth pact have ushered in a historic paradigm shift.

We have a three-pronged approach:

Firstly: sound national budgets.

Secondly: solidarity among Europeans.

And thirdly: policies which boost growth.

This autumn will be crucial for Europe. A turn for the better is already discernible in many areas. Our policies are having an impact. We are in the process of reducing our budget deficits and balancing our current accounts.

This shows that the demands for reform and the conditions attached to the assistance granted are steps in the right direction.

Europe has initiated irreversible reforms. Europe will emerge strengthened from this crisis. Asia can have every confidence in Europe’s strength.

We Germans will work wholeheartedly with all our strength for a strong and united Europe. For we know that this Europe is our future.

And it continues to be a continent with a robust currency.

Europe and Asia are powerful partners in the age of globalization. Let us intensify this partnership together!

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