Tag Archives: EU

EU Priorities in East Asia

Priorities for EU Diplomacy in East Asia by David O’Sullivan

Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service

12 February 2013 GRIPS Forum, Tokyo

Let me begin by thanking Professor Narushige Michishita for his introduction and the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) for giving me this opportunity to speak about the priorities for EU diplomacy in East Asia.

1. The new geostrategic context

Before I get into that, I would like to begin by setting out the wider context: how we see trends in and around the region and how these affect our policy options and choices. Continue reading

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European External Action’s David O’Sullivan to explain “Priorities for EU Diplomacy in East Asia”


On 12 Feb, Tokyo’s GRIPS Forum will host David O’Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service, who will explain the priorities for EU Diplomacy in East Asia. Details here

The EU Delegation says this about it:

“East Asia is home to some of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, and several of European Union’s biggest economic and trade partners. And yet, years after the emergence of first discourses on regional integration East Asia remains fragmented. While economic interconnectedness is increasingly felt between states in the region, as well as across regions, East Asia is unable to overcome deep-rooted historical legacies. China (together with Hong Kong and Macao), Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN account for about 28% of EU’s global trade in goods and services and East Asia offers rapidly expanding market opportunities for EU member states. However, at the same time there is much at stake for Europe if security and stability of the region deteriorated due to territorial disputes. David O’Sullivan, Chief Operation Officer of the EEAS will come to share his perspective on what are the priorities of EU’s engagement with the East Asian region.”

12 February (Tue), 2013 16:40-17:40

Venue: GRIPS 1st Floor Sokairou Hall
Participation Fee: Free (prior registration required)
Language: English (with Japanese simultaneous interpretation)
Inquiries: gripsforum@grips.ac.jp

I have three questions that I would love David O’Sullivan to address: What is the EU prepared to do –

(i) to ease the tensions on the Korean peninsula?

(ii) to help with the peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes (between several E. Asian states)? and

(iii) to support the creation of the ASEAN Political Security Community (due 2015)?

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‘Transatlantic agendas in the Asia Pacific’ exposed by EU Institute for Security Studies report

image_report_13_67de83388eA new report from the EU ISS, “Look East, Act East: transatlantic agendas in the Asia Pacific” is certainly worth a read. In it Andrew S. Erickson and Austin M. Strange argue that:

It is essential that the US and its NATO allies do not simply pursue a ‘division of labour’ scenario in which the US handles the Alliance’s Asia-Pacific duties while EU members essentially concentrate resources in regions closer to home. In fact, from an EU perspective it may be desirable to develop a more direct presence in the Asia Pacific to help ensure that the US remains committed to the Alliance’s security interests in other regions that are traditionally perceived as more vital to European security.”

In the same report, Daniel Keohane proposes that Europe should be ‘a partner not a power’ in Asian security Continue reading

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More on the European Pivot – EU Pivot exposed again

EU Pivot Asia 1Thanks to Michael Matthiessen, the EU Visiting Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore for another voice on the European Pivot to Asia (see some related posts from this blog here, here and here)

According to a recent study by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), which tracked the perception of the EU in seven Asian countries, the EU is close to invisible. Michael Matthiessen explains that Asia is not invisible to the EU and it’s time to address this imbalance.

(First published in Global-is-Asian, Issue 15 (Oct-Dec 2012) by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS)

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Why the EU (still) finds it hard to be taken seriously in Asia

Ashton trying

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


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UK moves into Asia-Pacific – Strategic thinking and the European dimension

UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague gave this speech at the IISS Fullerton lecture in Singapore on ‘Britain in Asia’.

It will receive due attention in a later post, but for now I recommend it as a good read to give some context to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent tour through Asia.

Here are some excerpts:

My message today is that those who might think that British engagement with Asia is a thing of the past, or that we will become a partner of declining relevance, could not be more wrong. Today Britain is looking East as never before. We are setting our country firmly on the path to far closer ties with countries across Asia over the next twenty years; and on a completely new footing from the past.

On shedding our colonial baggageContinue reading

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