Heads of state and government meet every 2 years at a summit to set ASEM's priorities. The Foreign Ministers and senior officials are responsible for the overall coordination of ASEM activities, while other ministerial level meetings strengthen cooperation in specific fields (finance, labour, culture, education, the environment and transport). Beyond government-level meetings, ASEM also brings together members of parliament, the business sector, civil society, academia and the media, by fostering people-to-people contacts.
The ASEM process is thriving. Each year, between summits, over 50 meetings of ministers and officials respectively are held to address political, economic, cultural, social and education-related issues. This helps maintain dialogue and momentum between Europe and Asia. Dialogue topics cover a wide range of issues, including finance, trade, culture, education, human rights, disaster preparedness, transport, immigration, climate change, piracy at sea, information technology, food security, development, employment, energy security and global governance. One of ASEM's key achievements is the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN), a ground-breaking research and education network linking researchers in both continents.
The 11th Foreign Ministers' Meeting, held on 11 and 12 November 2013, discussed economic and financial issues and non-traditional security challenges. In the retreat session a number of international and regional issues were addressed. The Ministers agreed on a number of tangible initiatives to enhance cooperation between the ASEM partners.