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EU-ASEAN Relations and Policy-Learning


The EU may be the oldest and first dialogue partner of ASEAN but this relationship has evolved and changed over the years, from an unequal donor-recipient relationship to one where the dynamism of Southeast Asian economies enabled the grouping to assert itself with a stronger voice. This book chapter seeks to analyse the EU-ASEAN relationship and ask whether there was policy learning between the two regional blocs, and if so, what were evidences of this exchange. It analyses dialectically the depth, quality and extent of ASEAN ‘policy learning’ and assesses the changes were more cosmetic than concrete, attributable to the EU or driven by other factors, such as the role played by epistemic community (the ASEAN-Institute of Strategic and International Studies). These changes include the adoption of the ASEAN Charter and ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, as well as consolidation of ASEAN ministerial meetings into the economic, security and socio-cultural Councils. The chapter points out the geopolitical and economic turning points that have impacted the EU and ASEAN’s respective style of integrations. Finally, it also presents and discusses key theories of policy learning.