Malaysia and the EU are deep into negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement that would help to improve trade between Malaysia and 27 nation trading bloc. This is an important time to evaluate how Malaysia views the EU. With the sovereign debt crisis a lingering risk in Europe and Asia’s rise continuing, all be it at a slower pace, it is important to ask how is these shifting times impacting the perceptions of each other? How does Malaysia view the EU in this uncertain time? And, how does the rising importance of Asia affect Europe’s outlook?
In response to these questions, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and theRazak School of Government organised a seminar on the 30th of November entitled “Mutual Perceptions of Asia and the EU in a Changing Global Environment – the view from Malaysia”. The seminar analysed the outcomes of the unique study, “The EU through the Eyes of Asia” which examines media, public and opinion leader perceptions of the “EU” in 10 countries across Asia including Malaysia.
The study provides unique insights into the relations between Asia and the EU in this era of economic uncertainty and shifting global power. The “EU through the Eyes of Asia”, has analysed over 8,000 news items, interviewed over 300 opinion leaders and surveyed over 10,000 public respondents on their perceptions of the EU. The research gives an understanding of how the EU is perceived by a wide-section of civil society across the Asia Pacific, providing insights into the importance of the EU for its external partners.
In addition, the seminar featured a presentation on a mirror study, ‘Asia in the Eyes of Europe’, which tracks and analyses the perception of ‘Asia’ in 8 EU member states. Using a similar methodology, the research offers a unique insight into the perception of Asia’s rise through various lenses.