Research & Publications


The Role of the European Union (EU) in Shaping Asia’s Future

Should the EU play a role in shaping Asia’s future, and can it play this role? Or would Asia develop its own trajectory with widespread implications for the EU and its member states? This paper presented at the EUSA Conference deftly and succinctly addresses questions that arise along with Asia’s growing clout, economically and in terms of its ‘soft’ power. It also weaves in how the EU and China’s relationship with the US can affect the power and security polemics, with implications for the emerging global order. Interdependence between Europe and Asia has increased to the point where Asia is the EU’s biggest trading partner. Economically the EU’s GDP blocs outstrip the US in terms of purchasing power parity. In 10 years, China’s alone would surpass both the EU and China’s GDP. Yet growing interdependence comes with its challenges that the EU cannot ignore. For Asia, these include competition for resources, water, energy, environmental degradation, terrorism and extremism. At the same time, the rise of China and India raises questions on whether they would rather work from within the international system or change it from the outside. What would be the EU’s influence on the emerging multilateral order? The EU’s coherence in projecting a common foreign and security policy, the ways in which it deepens political and military integration, and engages the post-Bush administrations, could determine its voice and centrality on the global arena, as well as whether this new multilateralism could take on a more institutional, binding, and cooperative flavour; whether the ‘New World’ would in essence comprise multiple poles of asserted national power.