EU confident of Laos' success in hosting Asia-Europe Summit

Somsack Pongkhao in Vientiane/Vientiane Times
Asia News Network

Vientiane (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The European Union is confident that Laos will have done everything possible to ensure the success of the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit which will take place in Vientiane in November.

Charg? d'Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Laos, Michel Goffin, spoke to the media yesterday after arriving in Laos earlier this month to take up the post.

Goffin told the press conference he realised how much effort the government of Laos had invested in preparing logistics, facilities and infrastructure to guarantee the success of the Summit. For its part, the European Union is committed to helping the Lao government in the task as much as possible.

"Our main task this year is to help the Lao government to successfully host the Asem Summit in November, at which 48 heads of state and government will be present on November 5-6,¿ he said.

"The purpose of the Asem Summit is to create stronger links and closer ties between these two very important areas of the world. Asia, where we have witnessed such surging growth in many sectors, is becoming one of the world's leading economic powers.¿

Goffin said that in spite of the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, both Asia and Europe remained powerful economic and political leaders and Europe would overcome the challenges.

Ambassador/Head of the EU Delegation to Laos David Lipman was also present at the press conference to introduce the new Charg? d'Affaires.

Lipman said the EU would support Lao senior officials travelling to Europe this month to learn how the Summit had been organised in Europe last year.

"As three other events are simultaneously taking place during the Summit - business forums, parliamentary meetings and people-to-people forums - we will also be present to help and assist in any way we can.¿

To ensure that everything runs smoothly, the EU will also help Laos with conference organisation and media training prior to the event.

When the Summit is over, Lipman said, he was sure that all the facilities, buildings and infrastructure created especially for the event would without doubt be of great benefit to the people of Laos.

Lipman and Goffin said the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and President of the European Commission, Jos? Manuel Barroso, would certainly be attending the Asem Summit.

The EU is a major contributor to Laos's development efforts. From 2007 to 2010 the EU provided assistance worth 33 million euros and from 2011 to 2013 this increased to 36 million euros.

This assistance does not include monies provided through EU-funded regional programmes delivered by NGOs and other international donor organisations, which also benefit Laos.

A bilateral and close relation between the EU and Laos has evolved over the years. What started as a mere "donor-recipient¿ relationship has become a full-fledged partnership, covering all aspects of modern diplomacy, including political dialogue, development, cooperation, trade, environmental, global and multilateral issues.