April 20, 2015 - Workshop

Rethinking EU’s Engagement in the Asia-Pacific - Challenges to EU’s Foreign Policy and Diplomacy

Frédéric Mérand, Director of the EUCE-UdeM and the CÉRIUM, and Antoine Rayroux, Associate Researcher at the EUCE, participate in a workshop on the EU's foreign policy and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region. The workshop brings together 15 researchers and practitioners at the EU Centre of Excellence in Singapore

Link to the programme.


Economic relationship between the EU and the Asia-Pacific has been intensified over the last two decades because of the economic dynamism of the region. In 2011-2012, the EU also tried to boost its security engagement with its own “pivot” to Asia.  With the Lisbon Treaty coming into force in 2009, it was hoped that the EU would have a much more coherent and cohesive foreign policy not only towards its immediate neighbourhood, but also in all its relations with the outside world.

The Asia-Pacific is an important theatre for both economic and security reasons. The presence of the US as a pacific power in this region, and the rise of China meant that this region will be the core in determining the future world order.  Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region have increased in recent years – with disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea dominating much of the headlines. US relations with China, and the competition for influence in the Asia-Pacific region has also intensified.

The EU to be taken seriously as an actor in the Asia Pacific need to be more effective, using the words of the new President of the Commission, Juncker, “in bringing the tools of external action together”.

This workshop is an attempt to rethink the EU’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific in the light of the political crisis in Ukraine, and its diminished stature and image as a successful regional entity and economic power as a result of the sovereign debt crisis. How can the EU maintain a steady presence in the Asia-Pacific and strengthen its partnership with key actors in the Asia-Pacific? What should the priorities of the EU be, and how can the EU bring together the different soft power tools in order to have a stronger common foreign policy in this region?


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