Research & Publications


Can the EU be a serious security actor in Asia?

Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of the EU Centre, has published a policy brief in the Asia Europe Journal (Volume 11, Number 4, December 2013) entitled “Can the EU be a serious security actor in Asia?” This article is available on-line to subscribers of the Asia Europe Journal at this link. For non subscribers, the first two pages of the article can be previewed at the same link. For more information on the Asia Europe Journal and subscription information, please click here.


Following the US “pivot” to Asia, the European Union (EU) announced its own pivot to Asia in 2012 with stepped-up engagement. A flurry of high-level visits to Asia, and in particular, Southeast Asia, by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy followed. The EU is looking for a much more comprehensive engagement of Asia, but at the same time, within Asia; there is always this nagging doubt as to whether the EU can be a serious security actor in Asia. This short brief surveys the constructive role that the EU can play in Asia and argues that the EU should stop fretting about whether it is seen as a serious security actor in Asia and instead focus on what it can do best and do its best in Asia.