Asia-Europe civil society forum opens with calls to re-design global financial system

Press release
13 October 2008
Article

Europe and Asia should take the initiative to re-design the global financial system, according to delegates at the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), which began in Beijing today.

Beijing, 13 October. For immediate release. Europe and Asia should take the initiative to re-design the global financial system, according to delegates at the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), which began in Beijing today.

“The ASEM Heads of State should send a message to the global community from Europe and Asia that the unfettered deregulation of markets has to stop” said Charles Santiago MP of Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (Malaysia). “Developing countries like China, India and Brazil could lead the world in re-setting a new financial architecture,” he added.

The AEPF is the civil society counterpart to the Asia-Europe Meeting, which will bring together Heads of State from the two regions in Beijing from 24th to 25th October. It is being attended by 500 representatives of civil society organisations from China, Asia and Europe. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, Heidi Hautala MP, Chair of the Finnish AEPF Committee, said that “The AEPF has consistently promoted the replacement of blind pro-market policies by alternative people-centred policies”

Yang Jiechi, China’s Foreign Minister, also addressed the opening session of the AEPF. He expressed the hope that the People’s Forum would help to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Asian and European people.

Hautala and Santiago, who are members of the forum’s International Organising Committee, also called for ASEM Heads of State to engage in greater dialogue with civil society when they meet in Beijing next week.

“The idea of the People’s Forum is to provide alternatives that the official ASEM summit should take into account. In order to do this space should be made available for direct dialogue between civil society and the heads of state,” said Hautala.

“The unequal status of the Asia-Europe People’s and Business Forums reflects the flawed emphasis of the ASEM process, and the flawed emphasis of the ASEM governments – which insist that market deregulation will solve all of our the problems,” said Santiago.

See the full speech of Heidi Hautala

More detailed information on the programme (including copies of speeches and background papers) will also be made available here.

Further information: CHANG Tianle +86 1326 342 5662, aepf7.press@tni.org Oscar REYES + 86 1500 121 0142, oscar@tni.org

Press registration for the AEPF, enabling entry to all talks and press conferences, is available from 13 to 15 October. Journalists should show a valid press card at the entrance of the Dragon Spring Hotel on arrival.