Over the past 15 years, Brussels’s partnership with Tokyo has become more goal-oriented and has acquired a certain strategic dimension. EU and Japanese leaders, along with many observers, admit that so far the potential for bilateral co-operation continues to exceed the achievements. This chapter examines the evolving EU–Japan strategic partnership, focusing on the relationship’s politico-security dimension. The discussion explores the motivations of both sides to strengthen ties, the factors that improve and inhibit co-operation and the main joint initiatives and policies. ‘New’ opportunities for co-operation are found to have emerged, in particular in the maritime security domain, while some of the ‘old’ constraints have receded, such as those associated with Japan’s international security role, and the EU’s approach to Asia beyond the ‘China only’ dimension. The geopolitical environment of both Europe and the Asia-Pacific is also undergoing major shifts, and longstanding structural limitations affecting the roles of the EU and Japan in each other’s neighbourhoods persist. All this suggests that the search for a more effective and genuinely strategic partnership is positioned to continue, while the outcome remains more, rather than less, uncertain.
Suetyi Lai and Li Zhang
The Union began gaining competence in external relations in 1993 after the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty. Since then the EU has struggled to increase its international presence, and public diplomacy has been one option in the toolbox. In terms of traditional diplomacy, the role and weight of the EU in Asia have been less prominent compared to unitary actors such as the US and Russia; the Union’s public visibility and awareness among the Asian public have also lagged behind. This chapter is devoted to examining the public diplomacy programme of the EU in Asia, to determine how it has (or has not) contributed to the EU’s rapprochement with Asia. It focuses on the EU’s public diplomacy in countries of the ASEAN+3 group. These are subdivided into Northeast Asia (China, Japan and South Korea, which are three of the EU’s ten strategic partners) and Southeast Asia (the ten member states of ASEAN). This study excludes public diplomacy of the individual member states of the EU. The timeframe monitored is between 1994 and the present, as in 1994 the EU published the New Asia Strategy, which marked the beginning of the EU’s rediscovery of Asia.
The European Union’s Asia-Pacific strategies and policies at the crossroads
Weiqing Song and Jianwei Wang
This introduction provides the background, rationale and objectives of the book. It first provides some history of the EU’s presence in the Asia-Pacific, followed by a discussion of the challenges and opportunities that the EU is currently facing in the region. The focus then turns to the need for the EU to rethink its strategic priorities and policies in the region, introducing various questions and issues. It concludes with a summary of the book structure.
This chapter analyses the European Union security policy regarding the Asia Pacific, in the context of current trends in international security. Section one explains why the EU regards specific international security trends as important to Europe and the world and why, consequently, EU foreign and security policy-makers assume they can also influence the management of security in the Asia-Pacific. The tendency to develop regional initiatives for the co-management of security issues and the progression of the non-proliferation of nuclear and mass destruction armaments are among the trends identified. In section two, the security culture of European and Asia-Pacific nations is examined, to develop a good knowledge basis for assessing the likelihood of meaningful dialogue on security between the EU and Asia-Pacific nations. In the third section, the present state of the CSDP, common security and defence policy, is analysed in depth, to assess the likelihood of the EU becoming further involved in the Asia-Pacific security process, as a united block of countries. In the fourth and concluding section, the state of current security initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region and the future role of the EU in those initiatives are analysed.
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.
Navigating between trouble and promise
Since 2003 the EU and China have acknowledged their strategic partnership, and have slowly but steadily built on it to develop one of the most structured relationships between two global powers in the world today. The re-emergence of China is a major driver of change in the ongoing transformation of the international system, and the EU–China strategic partnership is an important dimension in both Chinese and European foreign policies. As major trading entities, China and Europe have a significant effect on each other. China’s re-emergence and growing influence are, however, affecting Europe’s relative position in the global distribution of capabilities, and also pose a challenge to Europe’s governance outlook and to its very identity. In the wake of the great recession, friction has increased in the economic and trade relationship of China and the EU, which is the fundamental link between them. While they have many common interests, they are also competitors – and increasingly so. The future relationship between the EU and China is bound to be a difficult balancing act between competition and co-operation – at best an enlightened calibrating of national interests and global governance ambitions within a complex and transforming international environment.
Lessons from the Asia-Pacific
The debate on the EU’s ‘actorness’ has continued over two decades. Related research questions have primarily focused on whether the EU acts as one in the world and whether it does so effectively. Corresponding empirical investigations have analysed the EU’s presence in its neighbourhood, its relations with international and regional organisations and its partnerships with powerful nation-states such as the US, Russia and China. We have little knowledge, however, of the role and presence of the EU in sub-systems of the international system, in which the EU and its member states have not, at first glance at least, immediate interests. In this chapter we examine whether the EU is a human security provider in the Asia-Pacific region. The first section briefly presents the concept of human security and how it has been perceived in EU circles. The second section provides a systematic empirical analysis of the methods used by the EU to offer human security in the Asia-Pacific. Foreign policy instruments, development, trade, humanitarian aid, global health and environmental instruments are assessed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the EU’s presence in the Asia-Pacific as a human security provider may inform the debate around its actorness.
Rethinking Europe’s strategies and policies
Weiqing Song and Jianwei Wang
Since the mid-1990s, the European Union has defined the Asia-Pacific as one of its key strategic targets on its ambitious road towards global power. The EU has ever since made consistent efforts to implement strategies, policies and activities in the Asia-Pacific. Over the past decades, big changes have taken place on both sides and the wider world. It is high time to evaluate the EU’s performance in its Asian policy. In fact, the EU is at crossroads with its Asia Pacific policy. On several aspects, the EU is compelled to redefine its interests and roles, and rethink its strategies and policies towards the dynamic and ever-important Asia-Pacific region of the contemporary world. This volume addresses this theme, by elaborating the general context, major issues and countries in the EU’s Asia-Pacific policy. It covers issues and areas of traditional security, economy and trade, public diplomacy, and human security and focuses on the EU’s relations with China, Japan, the ASEAN countries and Australasia.
While the EU maintains strategic partnerships with several Asian countries, there are doubts in Asia over whether it can be a genuine strategic partner. The perceptions may not match – the EU has over the years developed numerous policies and initiatives on the region. In doing so it has demonstrated its comprehensive interest in Asia, not only in terms of foreign policy but also in the dimensions of politics and security. However, the perceptions of the two sides are mutual yet. In light of the new 2016 EU global strategy, this chapter explores the consequences it may have on the EU’s strategic approach to Asia in general, and its strategic partnership diplomacy in particular. In Asia, where profound changes are occurring, investing in regional security and strengthening global governance will be essential features of this policy.
The ties that bind Australia and New Zealand to the nations of Europe are many and varied, but what does the European Union mean to Australia and New Zealand? More importantly for the purposes of this volume: what do Australia and New Zealand mean to the EU? These questions are difficult to answer. Relations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand have been marked not only by deep cultural commonalities and shared policy concerns but also by policy differences, asymmetry (given the huge discrepancies in market size) and even, at times, indifference. The rapid development of the Asia-Pacific, particularly China, adds another dimension to the EU’s economic and strategic engagement with these outposts of ‘the West’.
This chapter thus aims to clarify the EU’s relations with Australia and New Zealand, highlighting the main points of both commonality and contention. The focus is on specific key policy areas, including agricultural subsidies, climate change, regional security and human rights. The picture that will emerge is of a relationship that is strong but not unproblematic; historically rooted and of great contemporary resonance.