The Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held their annual summit from 17 to 18 November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
European Union (EU) decision-makers have paid relatively little attention to the ASEAN region despite entering into a series of important agreements with ASEAN as a whole and with individual ASEAN member states: In July 2012 the EU entered into the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), an important regulatory framework for the region. In October 2012, it finished negotiating a partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) with Vietnam, and in December of the same year, it signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore. But despite these milestones, the EU generally has played a minor role in the region. To participate in Southeast Asia’s economic dynamism, the EU must make clear its importance to the region – above and beyond trade.
The ASEAN Charter of 2007 brought ASEAN’s institutional structures more in line with the EU. One important reform included making human rights protection one of ASEAN’s goals.
Myanmar’s political opening also provides the EU with new room to promote farreaching regional initiatives that could beef up ASEAN–EU relations.
The EU’s role as a security actor in Southeast Asia remains marginal, as shown by ASEAN’s rejection of its bid to join the East Asia Summit (EAS). Whether the EU’s accession efforts will one day succeed depends on how regional actors rate its contribution to major security issues.
ASEAN–EU Relations: From Regional Integration Assistance to Security Significance?, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 03, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-337793(2013),
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General Editor GIGA Focus Series: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach
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