Reuben Wong

This chapter argues that the EU has begun to view the ASEAN in strategic terms. The roles of EU nations as serious security players in Southeast Asia have long receded, with decolonisation by the Netherlands, Portugal, France and the UK completed by 1984. The EU can make and has, however, made a difference through the civilian missions of the European Security and Defence Policy since 2000, notably the Aceh mission of 2005–6. The EU’s main interests in ASEAN continue to be trade and investment, over and above its own self-proclaimed normative goals of promoting human rights and democracy, with individual member states competing for shares of the growing market in East Asia. Its human security interests, particularly in development and counter-terrorism, have begun to overlap with the priorities of Southeast Asian countries, providing the EU with the potential to play a role in the Asia-Pacific. These aims must be strategised and prioritised within the EU’s broader goals in the Asia-Pacific, which have hitherto been dominated by its relations with China and the US.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific