16 Feb 2012
Orchard Hotel, Singapore
Dr Yeo Lay Hwee (Director, EU Centre) spoke of the challenges in developing a comprehensive EU-Asia partnership at the launch of the 3-year EU-Asia Dialogue Project on “Shaping a Common Future for Europe and Asia”. She began by asserting that the full potential of partnership between the regions is far from being realised because of the lack of a clear strategy and sustained and comprehensive engagement. Driven primarily by trade and development cooperation, the partnership has not moved meaningfully beyond economic partnership and diplomatic niceties.
Dr Yeo also spoke on the unrealised potential of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an interregional forum that aims to deepen relations between Asia and Europe at all levels. However, engagement within this framework is still rather low-key. Lastly, she added that if the EU desires to develop a truly comprehensive partnership with Asia to address various common challenges, it should not underestimate the strategic importance of ASEAN in Asia. It should not dismiss talkshops such as ASEM and eschew overlapping forums as in an increasingly complex and messy world, the EU and Asia need to engage with each other more in a multi-layered and multi-pronged flexible way. She added that she hopes this project will allow a frank exchange of views from both sides, and that it will add value to inter-regional cooperation by creating a platform for genuine dialogue and open exchange between academics and policy-makers from both regions.
The EU Centre in Singapore is an associate partner in this EU-Asia project, coordinated by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and co-funded by the European Union. For more information on the project, the topics areas within the dialogue and the partner institutions, please visit the website.