While Asia and Europe's bilateral links with the United States are deep, ties between Europe and Asia need to be strengthened. In the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis and Europe's focus on issues closer to home (European single currency and the enlargement process), is the building of a new Asia-Europe partnership a priority for the European Union? Can the Asian economic crisis serve as a window of opportunity for closer and lasting economic cooperation between Asia and Europe? How can Europe assist in the implementation of economic reform programs and the process of market liberalization? What is the future of enhanced EU-Asia political cooperation in the areas of the environment, crime and drugs, terrorism, and human rights? How can Europe and Asia best pursue their common interests in arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation?
Professor Rinsche has had a distinguished career in German and European politics spanning more than three decades: as a member of the German Parliament (1965-1972) and a member of the European Parliament for twenty years (1979-1999). He was president of the EP-Delegation for ASEAN, South-East Asia, and South Korea (1979-1999), and chairman of the CDU/CSU-Group from 1989-1999. He is currently president of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German political foundation promoting civic education in Germany and democracy and development abroad. Professor Rinsche will have just returned from an extended trip to South-East Asia and China and will share his recent insights in the current situation in that region.