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Crafting Regionalism? The EU's Role in Regional Policy-Making in Southeast Asia

Imke Pente

The Europeanization literature has shed light on the European Union (EU)'s influence on member states', accession states' and neighboring countries' policies. Yet, to what extent the EU exercises influence on policy-making in areas beyond their immediate vicinity has been hardly investigated.In the face of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conceived the necessity to enhance the regional integration process in Southeast Asia and to build an ASEAN Community with a single market at its core. With the rise of China and in the course of this new regional dynamic, ASEAN has attracted tremendous external attention and has become 'an important site of soft power rivalry'. This new regional dynamic constitutes a window of opportunity for the European Union to influence the regional policies of ASEAN according to its interests, which are particularly economic in nature. At the same time, ASEAN considers the EU as 'source of inspiration' and seeks to learn from its regional integration experience without copying the EU integration model.The paper sheds light on the cooperation between the two regional organizations and analyzes to what extent the European Union succeeds in shaping ASEAN's regional policies, in the absence of conditionality. In order to do so, the paper identifies the output of the cooperation programs with ASEAN in different policy fields and traces it along the policy-making process of ASEAN. Based on the insights, the role of the EU will be characterized along the policy-making process and across issue areas.



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