The European Union (EU) is going through a difficult period with major challenges in the form of the on-going Eurozone crisis, the continued negotiations over the EU fiscal treaty and the need for improved growth across the 27 member states. In the face of these challenges, the EU must project a positive image overseas, a task that is the responsibility of the European External Action Service (EEAS) an entity charged with consolidating the EU’s external relations and projecting the EU as a global actor.
Meanwhile, Asian economies are feeling the effects with greater market instability and lower exports rates to the regions’ major export partner. This climate of uncertainty sees political and business leaders from both the EU and Asia, keeping a close eye on developments given the intense interconnectivity between the two regions.
While the Asia-EU relationship expands and deepens further through the various Foreign Trade Agreements and Partnership Cooperation Agreements currently under negotiation, it becomes increasingly important to understand how each side perceives the other. Through understanding these perceptions, a deeper understanding of expectations can be derived, leading to better informed policies.
With this in mind, ASEF, in partnership with the EU Centre in Singapore and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) organised a public briefing to analyse the “Perceptions of the EU in Asia?” at ASEF on the 6th of June.
The event examined how the EU is perceived by media, public and opinion leaders across Asia and will delve into how current developments are impacting the perception.
The analysis was based on the findings of the latest phase of the “EU through the Eyes of Asia” research project. The study has captured and analysed over 7,000 news items on the EU through the daily analysis of 40 media outlets across Asia. The study interviewed over 300 opinion leaders from business, media, politics and civil society, and, surveyed over 10,000 public respondents in 10 countries The briefing focused specifically on the findings from the Singapore research findings and will compare the outcomes to each of the other research locations – namely – Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, and, Thailand.
In addition the event featured insights into how Europeans perceive ‘Asia’, based on similar research from the “Asia in the Eyes of Europe” study. Speakers included Ambassador Marc Ungeheuer, Head of the EU Delegation to Singapore, Prof. Martin Holland, National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE)- University of Canterbury, Dr. Sebastian Bersick, Fudan University, &, Mr. Loke Hoe Yeong, Researcher, EU Centre in Singapore.
The briefing was the first in a series of Briefings that are taking place in seven cities across Asia and Europe (Singapore, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo) in June and July. For a look at the results please the reports in the document section.
For photos from the event, visit our flickr page.