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EU-ASEAN Relations: The Importance of Values, Norms and Culture


The working paper aims to show the important reasons behind the low-key relationship between the EU and ASEAN outside of trade and economic cooperation. These factors find a basis in the different values, norms and culture held by Europe and Asia. In more recent history the disparities became more obvious when the EU included human rights and democracy clauses in engaging ASEAN. The blocs had also remained at odds over the longstanding thorn in EU-ASEAN relations: the question of Myanmar. Still, the paper finds that since the year 2000, dynamics in EU-ASEAN relations have changed. It analyses developments such as the ASEAN Charter, changes in ASEAN discourse, and changing, even new postures adopted towards over Myanmar. With some caution, it proposes that there may be a growing alignment between the EU and ASEAN on this and other issues.