china-debateIn the past, we’ve debated whether China’s rise threatens the EU, whether European leaders really understand China and what China-EU relations should ultimately look like. We also asked you whether or not you thought the eurozone crisis spelt the end of the EU as a model for regional integration in Asia more generally – and in other regions (for example: will ASEAN be even less interested in the supranational approach after have seen the mess made in Europe).

Ignacio, for example, left us a comment saying:

Yes, I believe [the eurozone crisis] has acted and will continue to act as a deterrent for regional integration, all over the world. Countries are now much more cautious when it comes to integration.

At a recent Friends of Europe event, we had the opportunity to speak to Arif Havas Oegroseno, the ambassador of Indonesia to the EU and Belgium. The event was a discussion panel on the future of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an interregional forum which consists of European and Asian nations. ASEM is supposed to strengthen the relationship between the two regions, and ensure peaceful and mutually-beneficial ties. We asked the ambassador what had been the impact of the current economic crisis on EU-Asia relations:

Whenever we’ve spoken about Asia in the past on Debating Europe, it has usually been in the context of the rise of China and the relative decline of Europe (a debate that was sparked off by a tweet from Carmen, who asked if China’s rise should make Europeans feel vulnerable and threatened). Certainly, many of our commenters admitted they felt uneasy about the rise of China; Simon, for example, called it “extremely worrying“, though others were optimistic (Herminio suggested that the EU “must work together with China, India and Brasil to conterbalance the disproportionate importance given to the US“).

More recently, tensions between China and its neighbour Japan have been severely tested over a disputed island chain, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. With a more assertive and confident China increasingly becoming involved in territorial disputes with its neighbours, could interregional organisations like ASEM (and regional organisations like ASEAN) be a way to balance China’s rise and ensure a peaceful path towards global power status (if China hasn’t already achieved this)?

What do YOU think? How has the financial and economic crisis affected the relationship between Europe and Asia? Could interregional organisations such as ASEM (and regional organisations such as ASEAN) be a way to ensure the peaceful rise of China? Or has the crisis in the EU damaged the effectiveness of regional organisations in the eyes of the world? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

8 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Aleksander Jakobcic

    It is apparent that internal strength, the cohesion of EU member states, reflects on Eu’s external relations. Due to the economic crisis within the EU, and member states often falling-out over financial aid, Eu’s somehow internationally weakened position also reflects on the relations with Asian powers. Nevertheless it certain that EU remains one of the most important global partners and an influential international organizations. In my opinion EU should and must spearhead economic development in the world, because it does respect human rights and liberties, in comparison with other political world powers, and it is a common guideline for EU member states. For example, China, India or even USA often put progress before “humanity”. We should also be aware that even though we are living in crisis times, it does not mean we should only cut costs etc, but it also represent new possibilities and options for a “change”. I will conclude with a thought from Frederick Douglass; if There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress.

  2. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    I am dreaming of a multi-polar world, with many blocks of countries and regional organizations to counter part the established powers of this world. Not just China, but also Russia and of course and above all the USA! So I am absolutely FOR the creation of blocks similar to the EU around the globe. Of course the crisis in the EU has had a negative effect on other regions to persuade them to get involved in something like this. But I think it also taught them a lesson on how NOT to do it!! And perhaps it taught us a lesson too ( I hope). So now that we know the weaknesses and the pitfalls, why don’t we just correct them and get on with it. If the rest of the world looks up to Europe to get inspiration and learn, then that is a huge opportunity but also responsibility for Europe to shape the world once again. This time I hope for the better, and not like in the past with colonization, wars and slavery!! The question is: are we capable, worthy and willing to take up that initiative?

  3. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    It is quite impossible to say whether other entities would be an opportunity or a threat (on balance) when the EU doesn’t yet have a “grand plan” for global affairs.

    Until it does, it is quite impossible to evaluate against that “grand plan” what constitutes threats or opportunities against such a model.

    Likewise, until an EU “grand plan” is developed, agreed and recognised by its members and the global external actors, the EU itself cannot be identified as a threat or opportunity by the external actors.

    It must also be recognised that threats and opportunities come in various guises be it economic, militarily, socially et al., and thus different actors will have different tipping points on their threats/opportunities axis as to what is what and who is what.

    The world works in shades of grey. Black and white are for the idealists who always end up disappointed.

    Thus, until the EU formulates a “grand plan” of its own, everything is most certainly grey when it comes to threats and opportunities on a global scale both for the EU looking out and for the rest of the globe looking in.

    Where the EU has lost some significants, certainly in the short term and possibly in the medium term, is that everybody knows it has no “grand plan” – something which every other major nation and/or major block does have.

    All too often the media and commentators get lost in the headline minutiae or this or that specific issue, but there is a significant need to climb out of the troughs and valleys of policy and stand on the mountain top every once in a while to view the “grand scheme” of things.

    US, Chinese, Russian/Eurasia Union grand plans seems fairly clear. The EU “grand plan” if there is one, is nothing short of an incoherent mess that nobody seems able to identify.

  4. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    O impacto da crise na europa tem criado impacto na Ásia e também global a Europa tem os seus pontos fortes os outros paises globais estão a sentir o virus e só olham para o progresso e estão deixar de lado os direitos humanos a UE irá encontrar um caminho virado para o futuro tanto no progresso como nos direitos humanos

  5. avatar
    Gustavo Almeida

    EU nowadays doesn’t have a course/trend. We don’t even now if we will have more integration or desintegration, which used to be a 100% sure question. Mainly due to the EZ crisis.

    I confess I don’t see the EU leaders talking about Europe’s future.

    For instances, after the Berlin Wall fall it is crucial to ask two questions: 1) Will Germany get back to its role as a natural leader in EU? and does it want to?; 2) Do other Europeans bear that?.
    Because it is non sense to talk about federalism without knowing what will be the role of the within difference in Europe (North vs South, small vs big countries, etc.)

    Moreover, I would say that EU-China relations could be better. Don’t you remember the painful red card that Merkel received when asking for Chinese to participate in the ESM?

  6. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    The European / China debate should start speaking about reciprocal custom duties. Why we only charge 3 to 6% of custom duties to Chinese goods and they charge 40 % and above to European goods? China is the second biggest industrialized country, why this culture of favouring the Chinese if they do not treat us the same way? The European politicians are creating unemployment but, do not forget that desperation is the mother of all revolutions…

  7. avatar

    By now, you can see China’s rise is not a threat to EU. The resilience of a rising China has drawn all attention of Trump’s trade war away from EU. If China is weak and poor as twenty years ago, the big stick of Trump trade war would fall on EU definitely. The rise of China has changed the world system from a uni-polar system to a multi-polar one, in which the traditional wisdom of EU founding fathers, collective security, comes to work again.

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