The EU has just requested, and, for the second time, been refused membership of the East Asia Summit (EAS). When you think of it from the perspective of the Asian nations, this is understandable. Not having much about it that is geographically Asian, it has to earn a place at the table. It seems to be trying. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Cathy Ashton has talked about this as her ‘Asian Semester‘, and has been making more trips to the region. Since early in 2012, there has been increasing talk of a European Pivot.
So while the EU gets points for trying, it may not be trying hard enough to be taken seriously as a player in the region. I suggest this has something to do with being absent on security issues, and soft on geo-strategic integrity. If the current ambition is to make a real breakthrough in terms of being taken seriously and invited to the top table, the EU may have to consider creative ways to work around a few fundemental problems: Continue reading