by Maria Elena Spagnolo
ROME, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Cooperation between Asia and Europe in the last 20 years has enhanced the relations of the two continents in all fields, an Italian expert said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Nicola Casarini, head of Asia research from the Institute of International affairs in Rome, said Asia and Europe will further their partnership in various areas after the 11th Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which was held in Mongolia on July 15-16.
The ASEM meeting, with its agenda ranging from international trade to global economic recovery, infrastructure and migration, has gained good results in its political, economic, social, cultural and educational pillars, the scholar noted.
"Regarding the economic pillar, Asia and Europe have already cooperated in investments and infrastructures" since the biennial summit was initiated 20 years ago, Casarini said.
He explained that "many bilateral trade agreements have been signed. Discussions are ongoing on regional deals."
The scholar said the ASEM primarily serves as a platform for dialogue in terms of the political pillar, where "global problems including security, migration and disarmament are debated."
"Regarding the social, cultural and educational pillar, Asian and European countries have signed agreements in university and business sectors," said Casarini.
Casarini predicted that the cooperation between Asia and Europe would grow especially in the economic sector in the future, adding the EU could play a role in terms of politics, so as to "facilitate dialogue on some issues."
"Nowadays, the European Union (EU)'s interests in Asia are mainly economic," Casarini said, predicting that China, the largest developing country in Asia that has seen remarkable progress in the past 20 years, might become the EU's largest trading partner in the future.
"European countries have economic interests especially in China, our second biggest trading partner currently," he said.
Casarini said that Italy-China ties, among the most prioritized ones in Eurasia, "is one of the best relations because China and Italy collaborate in almost every sector, especially investment."
The scholar said although "Italy and China have different positions" on the EU's rendering of the market economy status to China, the "Chinese investments continue to arrive in Italy and vice versa."
"The recent controversy ... did not affect the Sino-Italian trade relations," he said, noting that the "bilateral economic relations are good."
"The Sino-Italian political cooperation has grown as well. There is also military cooperation, that is positive. Because it allows the two countries to know each other better," said the expert.
In addition, China and Italy cooperate in the university sector, where many projects have been involved in research centers," he added.