Home Today Interregionalism Issues: Why ASEAN Is the Key to EU Strategic Autonomy

Interregionalism Issues: Why ASEAN Is the Key to EU Strategic Autonomy

For the reason that signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, the European Union has progressively developed a definite international coverage agenda with a principal ambition of “strategic autonomy”.  This time period refers back to the EU’s need to scale back its dependency on the trans-Atlantic alliance, in addition to to diversify its diplomatic and financial relations with a view to get rid of its vulnerability to explicit shocks within the worldwide system. Additional, strategic autonomy entails the power to behave decisively and independently on international coverage points, and to leverage affect in world affairs. The notion of EU strategic autonomy, nevertheless, has been criticised on the grounds that the Union lacks the political unity and the navy heft to behave within the method of an autonomous energy. That’s, strategic autonomy is inconceivable for an entity that is still an financial union first, and a political union second.

Nevertheless, as this paper will argue, the EU is able to realising strategic autonomy by leveraging its confirmed competencies in financial and commerce negotiation. Significantly, this paper argues that strategic autonomy might be strengthened within the close to time period with an interregional Free Commerce Settlement (FTA) with the Affiliation of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Whereas negotiations for a complete EU-ASEAN FTA initially reached a impasse in 2009, the chaos of Brexit, the Trump presidency, and China’s rising assertiveness have galvanised the EU into in search of steady bilateral agreements with dependable companions within the area.  As of writing, FTAs have now come into power with Singapore and Vietnam, and one with Thailand is on the horizon. Within the context of an more and more unpredictable and bipolar world order, nevertheless, an interregional FTA between the EU and ASEAN stays the important thing to making sure the autonomy of each these organisations. The EU and ASEAN are two highly effective regional groupings which might be fashionable exemplars of intergovernmental cooperation. They’re additionally key drivers of the multilateral, rules-based worldwide order. In an period that’s more and more being characterised by the good energy rivalry of the US and China, highly effective regional organisations can be important to making sure that third powers retain their autonomy and don’t essentially develop into beholden to the pursuits of the 2 superpowers.

Because of this interregionalism issues. As this paper shall show, an EU-ASEAN FTA will present a robust discussion board for the EU to construct financial stability, train normative affect in world affairs and, in flip, contribute to attaining the strategic autonomy that it so needs. To take action, the paper will additional delineate what strategic autonomy entails, in addition to the impediments to attaining it. The majority of the paper will then show how an EU-ASEAN FTA will fulfill the aims of strategic autonomy; first by discussing how the FTA would construct strategic stability by means of diversifying its financial dependencies and rising its geopolitical safety, and second by demonstrating how the FTA would guarantee EU normative affect within the worldwide system by selling EU market requirements and core values. In doing so, the paper will show that the EU-ASEAN relationship can be key to sustaining each these organisations’ autonomy in an more and more bipolar worldwide system. This relationship will make sure the endurance of some semblance of the multilateral rules-based worldwide order and, in flip, soften the fallout of any new great-power rivalry. Briefly, the endurance of highly effective intergovernmental organisations may very well be the important thing to avoiding the worst of a brand new Chilly Conflict.

Attaining Strategic Autonomy

In an educational sense, the idea of strategic autonomy is pretty self-explanatory. Lippert et al. describe it succinctly as “the power to set one’s personal priorities and make one’s personal selections in issues of international coverage and safety, along with the institutional, political and materials wherewithal to hold these by means of” (Lippert at al. 2019, p. 5). Particularly, strategic autonomy describes the capability of an influence to behave as a “rule-maker” – versus a “rule-taker” – in worldwide affairs, figuring out its personal route and distinct pursuits, “fairly than copying the fashions of others” (De Graça 2020).  It includes an influence sustaining accountability for its personal safety, in addition to taking an energetic position in worldwide peace and stability (Hwee 2017, p. 3). Strategic autonomy additionally includes exercising management in response to world challenges and rising tendencies in geoeconomics (Dr Graça 2020). On this means, strategic autonomy encompasses diplomatic, political, financial, navy and even geographic dimensions, and thus is seemingly prone to “conceptual bloating” – to borrow from Mark Purcell (Purcell 2014, p. 141). Certainly, within the European context, the notion of strategic autonomy is usually criticised as mere rhetoric, with no precise substance or achievable coverage outcomes. Regardless of this criticism, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, offered a reasonably concrete definition of what “strategic autonomy” means for EU coverage. To President Michel, attaining strategic autonomy includes pursuing three aims: making certain stability – bodily, environmental, social and financial – for the Union, disseminating European requirements, and selling European values (Michel 2020b). Importantly, strategic autonomy just isn’t protectionism, however as an alternative includes “upholding and growing a world order that’s a minimum of rules-based, open and inclusive” (Lippert et al. 2019; Michel 2020b).

The viability of attaining strategic autonomy for the European Union, nevertheless, stays some extent of competition. In keeping with Leonard and Shapiro, the EU has relied on three pillars for its safety and stability over the previous a number of many years: first, the multilateral, rules-based order; second, the US safety alliance; and third, free and honest world commerce (Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 2). Nevertheless, all three of those pillars are at the moment weakening. The primary pillar – the multilateral, rules-based order – is progressively giving method to a bipolar world order characterised by the superpower rivalry of the US and China (Kim et al. 2019; Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 3). In such a system, the autonomy of third powers can be more and more undermined by the pursuits of the hegemons, in a lot the identical means that the US and USSR vied for affect within the “Third World” in the course of the Chilly Conflict. The second pillar – the US safety alliance – has develop into more and more strained below the Bush and Trump administrations, with EU international coverage pursuits typically at odds with these of the USA (Leonard et al. 2019, p. 4–6). European strategic autonomy is thus more and more understood to necessitate “decoupling” from the US alliance, with the EU taking up sole accountability for its safety and defence (Drent 2018, p. 3). Critics of the notion of European strategic autonomy, nevertheless, insist that the EU is incapable of satisfying its defence pursuits by itself, particularly within the context of an more and more belligerent Russia (Brattberg and Valášek 2019; Drent 2018; Fiott 2018; Howorth 2019). Strategic autonomy is thus seemingly a paradox, because it requires decoupling from the US alliance which, in flip, would undermine the EU’s autonomy and stability. As well as, there stays a excessive degree of heterogeneity amongst EU member states on defence issues, with sure nations outright suspicious of recommendations of EU defence cooperation (Lippert et al. 2019, p. 16–22).

Lastly, a number of points emerge concerning the endurance of the third pillar – free and honest world commerce – for attaining European strategic autonomy. First, there’s the rising development of protectionism and the weaponization of commerce negotiation – exemplified within the elevated tendency of the US and China to abuse their advantageous positions to extract financial or strategic positive factors through tariffs, sanctions or different mechanisms (Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 3; Leonard et al. 2019, p. 3–6). As well as, Europe maintains “dangerous dependencies” on Russia, the US and China in its provide chains and financial connections, elevating its vulnerability to market shocks and even focused abuse (Fiott 2018, p. 8; Lippert et al. 2019, p. 24). Lastly, the EU’s competitors and anti-monopoly legal guidelines make many EU companies unable to compete with state-backed Chinese language companies (Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 3). Chinese language companies have extra sources at their disposal and Beijing – which doesn’t distinguish between financial and strategic ends – will more and more use these to realize political and strategic outcomes, the place the EU is ideologically incapable of doing the identical (Leonard et al. 2019, p. 3–4). On this means, the third pillar of “free and honest world commerce” has seemingly develop into some extent of vulnerability for the EU fairly than some extent of power. Strategic autonomy, then, appears troublesome to realize with the continued decline of the rules-based, multilateral order, dependence on the US safety alliance, and an uneven taking part in area in worldwide commerce.

But strategic autonomy stays realisable for the European Union. Whereas it can not do a lot to make up for its defence shortfalls within the near-term, the EU can leverage its confirmed competency in diplomatic and commerce negotiation to protect the rules-based order and to strengthen its financial safety. One method to obtain these aims could be to barter a Free Commerce Settlement (FTA) with ASEAN. A standard theme throughout the literature is that European strategic autonomy is based upon the preservation of the multilateral order Anghel et al. 2020, p. 29; Lippert et al. 2019, p. 23). An EU-ASEAN FTA would go a good distance in strengthening this order. The EU and ASEAN are each depending on a rules-based worldwide system, are united of their anti-protectionist stances, and share key safety considerations concerning local weather change, migration and terrorism (Hwee 2017, p. 3–4). The EU additionally has shared pursuits with ASEAN in regard to sustainable improvement, poverty eradication and pandemic response (European Fee 2015, p. 14; European Exterior Motion Service [EEAS] 2020, p. 20). An FTA between the 2 organisations would reaffirm their regional identities in addition to giving extra weight – or “strategic relevance” – to their actions on the worldwide stage, offering a powerful platform for multilateral responses to those shared considerations (Anghel et al. 2020, p. 30; Hwee 2017, p. 6).  Certainly, the EU has lengthy desired a “strategic partnership” with ASEAN and regards an interregional FTA as the first automobile for attaining this (European Fee 2015, p. 14). Furthermore, in negotiating an EU-ASEAN FTA, the EU can deal with what it’s good at and leverage the “energy useful resource” that’s the European Financial Space (Lippert et al. 2019, p. 24). An interregional FTA would strengthen EU strategic autonomy without having to develop “onerous” navy capabilities,. So long as the worldwide system doesn’t devolve right into a taking pictures conflict, the truth that the EU is probably going be unable of stopping a Russian offensive has little bearing on whether or not or not it might train strategic autonomy. If the multilateral, rules-based order is preserved, then the EU can proceed to train autonomy through diplomatic and financial means. As the remainder of this paper will show, an EU-ASEAN FTA supplies a primary step to growing EU Strategic Autonomy on this means. Particularly, an interregional settlement would each guarantee stability and contribute to disseminating European requirements and values, fulfilling the aims outlined by President Michel.

Autonomy in Stability

The primary means that an EU-ASEAN FTA contributes to EU strategic autonomy is by constructing stability. Significantly, an interregional FTA builds financial, geopolitical and bodily stability for the EU. In regard to financial stability, the FTA would diversify the EU’s commerce relations, lowering its “dangerous dependencies” on the US and China (Paderon 2020, p. 797). At the moment, EU-ASEAN commerce is effectively beneath potential, and the EU really runs a commerce deficit with ASEAN (Allison-Reumann 2019, p. 8; EEAS 2020, p. 28). This deficit is even if the EU is ASEAN’s second largest commerce companion, and ASEAN is the EU’s third largest non-European companion (EEAS 2020, p. 28). In keeping with the European Exterior Motion Service (EEAS), there stay quite a few non-tariff boundaries to EU-ASEAN commerce, together with laws, functionality limitations in customs and transport and sure protected markets (EEAS 2020, p. 36). An interregional FTA would scale back these boundaries by standardising customs and transport procedures, in addition to competitors legal guidelines. In doing so, it could exploit that undeniable fact that the EU and ASEAN are “pure buying and selling companions”, who export quite a few complementary items and companies, filling the gaps in one another’s markets (Paderon 2020, p. 797). This might scale back each areas dependence on Chinese language and American items and companies, constructing autonomy in each instructions (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020; Hwee 2017). As well as, an EU-ASEAN FTA would diversify the EU’s vitality relations and scale back its awkward dependency on Russian pure fuel (Indio 2019). ASEAN nations, collectively, are the fourth largest exporters of pure fuel – solely behind Russia, Qatar and Norway. An interregional FTA would enable the EU to seize extra of those exports, rising stability in its vitality provide chains.

An EU-ASEAN FTA would additionally construct geopolitical stability. Nearer EU-ASEAN relations, facilitated by an FTA, would affirm their regional identities and assist “clarify” the position of regional governance in a fancy world panorama (Gilson 2020). Significantly, an interregional FTA would supply a counterweight to the dominance of US and China, who each have tried to make use of “Divide and Rule” methods in Europe and Asia, by courting particular person member states with financial incentives into diverging from their respective regional teams on political issues (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020, p. 659–670). Such methods are particularly obvious in US commerce negotiations below Trump, in addition to Chinese language funding below the Belt and Highway Initiative (BRI) (Geeraerts 2019, p. 2). For instance, in Europe, Chinese language funding has efficiently incentivised Greece and Hungary to dam EU critique of Chinese language exercise within the South China Sea, in addition to a condemnation of crackdowns on Chinese language activists, whereas China itself has promoted non-EU positions in regard to Kosovo and North Macedonia (Brattberg and Etienn 2018, p. 2; Rrustemi et al. 2019, p. 99–102). There may be thus concern that each Jap European international locations and susceptible Southeast Asian economies may pose long-term “backdoor” impediments to the mixing of the EU and ASEAN in the same method (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020; Geeraerts 2019, p. 2). Additional, there’s concern that BRI engagement may very well be used as a “bargaining chip” by China in different negotiations, “providing much less intensive [BRI] engagement in return for political help on different portfolios” (Gehrke 2019, p. 4). In keeping with Biscop (2020, p. 6), increasing the EU’s multilateral partnerships is essential to countering these practices. By diversifying the EU’s financial relations, the Union can be much less vulnerable to such geopolitical leveraging, rising its stability, unity and therefore strategic autonomy. The EU’s membership within the Asian Infrastructure Funding Financial institution (AIIB) and bilateral FTAs with Japan and South Korea are steps in the fitting route, however a complete interregional FTA between the EU and ASEAN would stabilise the EU’s geopolitical connections greater than the rest (Biscop 2020, p. 2; Geeraerts 2019, p. 4). Certainly, such connections can be notably essential for preserving a system of multilateral world governance within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – with a weakened and more and more insular US, and a extra assertive China. Welfens (2020, p. 570) argues that and not using a coherent multilateral response to the financial fallout of the pandemic, the EU is prone to experiencing a “Euro Disaster 2.0”. An EU-ASEAN FTA would supply an efficient platform for such a response, facilitating the form of intergovernmental cooperation that the pandemic crises necessitates. Thus, not solely does an interregional FTA give the EU the geopolitical stability to keep away from being subjected to the pursuits of the worldwide hegemons, it additionally supplies a platform for countering the fallout of the COVID-19 disaster – making certain that the EU is ready to stay a steady and autonomous actor within the worldwide system.

Lastly, an interregional FTA builds stability by facilitating the EU’s and ASEAN’s responses to shared safety considerations. As mentioned above, the EU-ASEAN FTA acts as a counterweight to dangerous dependencies that the 2 organisations have with the Nice Powers. Past the financial and strategic dimensions, nevertheless, there’s a particular safety dimension to the 2 organisations’ relationships with the hegemons. Significantly, each the EU – within the case of Ukraine and Jap Europe – and ASEAN – within the case of the South China Sea – have excellent territorial disputes with the Nice Powers (Michel 2020a). The financial and geopolitical stability gained from an EU-ASEAN FTA would enable a extra decisive response to those safety considerations. Particularly, within the EU’s case, financial sanctions levelled towards Russia in response to the Ukraine disaster value European economies some €100 billion, and the EU has been reluctant to comply with the US in imposing sanctions on Russian oil and fuel, as this might threaten Europe’s vitality provide (Heller and Carbonnel 2017; Sharkov 2015). Beneath an EU-ASEAN FTA, against this, the EU would have the soundness in its financial and vitality relations to implement a extra decisive sanctions regime in response to any future Russian expansionism.

As well as, an interregional FTA would facilitate the EU’s and ASEAN’s responses to the non-traditional safety considerations referring to anthropogenic local weather change. The fallout of local weather change is probably the most essential safety concern of recent occasions and growing complete coverage responses to “inexperienced” our economies and scale back the environmental affect of financial improvement would be the defining problem of this era (Barnett and Adger 2007). The EU is already planning to speculate €1.2 billion within the ASEAN Catalytic Inexperienced Finance Facility of the Asian Improvement Financial institution (Michel 2020a). This facility will help ASEAN in fulfilling the sustainable improvement targets and transitioning to a inexperienced economic system (Asian Improvement Financial institution 2020; Wu and Gaenssmantel 2020). Not solely would an EU-ASEAN FTA enhance such funding, it could enable for two-way capability constructing in photo voltaic and wind energy, know-how switch and best-practice sharing, making certain that each areas meet the requirements for a inexperienced transition (Indio 2019). As well as, an EU-ASEAN FTA may function a automobile for spreading European Inexperienced Deal requirements and insurance policies in transport, emissions and, importantly, plastics manufacturing – as ASEAN stays a serious supply of the world’s plastics provide (EEAS 2020, p. 42). Certainly, President Michel recognises the capability for EU and ASEAN to “[join] forces on renewable vitality, biodiversity, and local weather” and in the end envisages an “EU-ASEAN Inexperienced Deal” (Michel 2020a). The EU-ASEAN FTA thus emerges as a discussion board not just for constructing bodily safety, but additionally for coordinating an intergovernmental response to anthropogenic local weather change and for facilitating the inexperienced transition.

Selling European Values and Requirements

An EU-ASEAN FTA additional develops EU strategic autonomy by increasing on President Michel’s second and third objects – the proliferation of European requirements and values – in addition to extra usually rising the EU’s diplomatic attain within the area. The EU has repeatedly demonstrated its skill to export its market and regulatory requirements through its commerce relations: the so-called “Brussels impact” (Bradford 2019, p. 4–5). This time period refers to a “race to the highest” development whereby companies discover it extra economically and legally viable to undertake no matter regulatory requirements are strictest amongst the international locations that they function in (Bradford 2019, p. 4–5). For instance, if a serious firm desires to entry each the American and European markets, they’re obliged – within the latter case – to undertake Brussels’ requirements when working within the European Financial Space. It then makes enterprise sense to easily apply these requirements throughout their whole enterprise, working in response to European requirements even within the extra regulatorily lax USA. An EU-ASEAN FTA would act as a catalyst for the proliferation of European requirements into rising Asian economies in the same means, as Asian firms could be inclined to undertake European requirements with a view to enhance their competitiveness (Paderon 2020, p. 797). This, in flip, would make sure that a serious rising area, encompassing ten member states and virtually 650 million folks, would comply with Europe’s excessive requirements on setting, information privateness, labour relations and competitors regulation (Kiron et al. 2016, p. 71; Michel 2020a). But whereas the EU has been negotiating bilateral FTAs within the area with this purpose in thoughts, it’s prone to falling behind the hegemons if an interregional FTA just isn’t negotiated quickly. ASEAN is already engaged in FTAs with virtually each different main energy besides the EU – together with China, the US, Japan, India and Australia (Paderon 2020, p. 798). As such, there’s the chance that the regulatory requirements of those main powers will started to form markets earlier than the EU has an opportunity to interrupt into the area (Meissner 2016, p. 333–334). If that is so, the “Brussels impact” dangers being stymied indefinitely, because the EU can be unable to train affect in a area that can play a pivotal position what’s already being acknowledged because the “Asian century” (Deng 2020, p. 118). For the EU to train strategic autonomy, it must play a significant position within the rising Asia-centric order (Deng 2020, p. 119). An interregional FTA with ASEAN supplies a transparent means ahead for making certain the EU has a regulatory foothold on this essential a part of the world.

Equally, attaining EU strategic autonomy within the Asian century additionally requires the continued promotion of European values. The EU has more and more sought to hyperlink its diplomatic and financial efforts to the promotion of “European values” resembling democracy, the rule of regulation, transparency and equal alternative (EEAS 2020, p. 20). To President Michel, this follow is a necessary a part of strategic autonomy, because it ensures that the EU is ready to function in a “respectful, extra moral, and extra simply” world the place “sovereignty, independence, empowerment” are upheld (Michel 2020b). Certainly, Lippert et al. (2020, p. 32) describe a necessary facet of European strategic autonomy as the power “to take part in shaping the worldwide setting on the premise of European values and pursuits, fairly than accepting a task because the recipient of strategic selections made by others”. An EU-ASEAN FTA would supply a robust discussion board for attaining this. Initially, early evaluation of EU-ASEAN FTA negotiation instructed that both human rights and democracy promotion weren’t being pursued by the EU of their commerce negotiations, or that ASEAN was not receptive to such practices (Pinhão 2009, p. 3–4; Alfredo and Robles 2014, p. 1324). Furthermore, a number of ASEAN member-states have traditionally had troubled relationships with democracy in addition to questionable human rights data (Alfredo and Robles 2014).Nevertheless, newer analysis has demonstrated that ASEAN international locations have been extra open to democracy promotion and social liberalisation with a view to reap the financial advantages of elevated engagement with rich democracies (Lim 2011, p. 859–692; Bae 2018, p. 33–35). In keeping with Lim (2011, p. 821), ASEAN’s expertise of bilateral FTAs – together with the Trans-Pacific Strategic Financial Partnership in addition to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA – have demonstrated that East Asian nations might be influenced normatively by their buying and selling companions. Bae (2018, p. 33–35) notes that value-promoting international locations have earned recognition as dependable and competent from the sustained interplay with ASEAN stakeholders offered by an FTA.  This constructive picture has, in flip, elevated the receptiveness of ASEAN enterprise and political leaders to insurance policies of social and political liberalisation. A lot as is the case with the promotion of European market requirements – as mentioned above – the EU wants a method to successfully promote its explicit values and mannequin of governance earlier than the pursuits of China and the US dominant the socio-political landscapes of the area. As demonstrated by the ASEAN’s experiences below its quite a few different FTAs, an interregional FTA with the EU would successfully obtain this purpose.

Receptiveness to European requirements and values within the area can be depending on the continued projection of EU mushy energy. Tender energy is famously described by Joseph Nye (2004) because the artwork of “seduction” in worldwide politics; the power to affect the affairs of different nations through appeal fairly than coercion. Tender energy is realised in constructive perceptions of a nation’s tradition, values, folks and reliability. A key driver of such perceptions is international direct funding (FDI). In bringing items and companies right into a recipient nation, FDI successfully will increase the “model consciousness” of the supply nation, selling its values and including to its mushy energy affect (Anguelov and Kaschel 2017, p. 5). At the moment, the EU is ASEAN’s largest single supply of FDI – totalling a 3rd of capital movement into the area (Gilson 2020). The EU thus appears effectively positioned to train mushy energy affect within the area. Nevertheless, China has been quickly rising its direct funding in ASEAN as a part of its Belt and Highway technique (Ujvari 2019, p. 1–2). This funding has created intense friction between member states “much more so” than it has in Europe within the instances of Greece and Hungary (Ujvari 2019, p. 1–2). If ASEAN members develop into divided of their China relations and develop into more and more depending on funding from Beijing, then the EU loses its probability to construct a powerful interregional relationship and train mushy energy affect within the area, which subsequently undermines its efforts to construct strategic autonomy. An EU-ASEAN FTA, however, would facilitate – and, certainly, enhance – the EU’s lead in FDI flows into the area, making certain that ASEAN nations stay extra receptive to Brussels than they do to Beijing (Leonard et al. 2019, p. 14; Paderion 2020, p. 797). The interregional FTA would thus construct strategic autonomy not solely by proliferating EU requirements and values, but additionally by making certain the train of EU mushy energy in an important area of this century.


Strategic autonomy is achievable. Whereas the idea was initially critiqued as obscure and undefined, it has developed right into a coherent set of international coverage aims below the Von der Leyen Fee. Additional, whereas doubts concerning the EU’s capability to train autonomy in navy issues are well-founded, such criticism fails to understand the EU’s confirmed skill to additional its pursuits through diplomatic and financial means. As this paper has demonstrated, the EU’s strategic autonomy is vested within the preservation of the multilateral, rules-based order. So long as this order is maintained, questions of navy capability are irrelevant. An interregional EU-ASEAN FTA supplies a transparent automobile each for preserving this order and, accordingly, for attaining strategic autonomy.

First, an interregional FTA would construct financial stability by diversifying the EU’s dependencies, and construct geopolitical stability by counter-weighting the affect of the US and China. As well as, the FTA would facilitate multilateral responses to shared conventional and non-traditional safety considerations of the 2 organisations. An interregional FTA would additionally allow the proliferation of the EU’s excessive market requirements – extending the so-called “Brussels impact”, in addition to the promotion of European values of democracy and social liberalism. Lastly, the FTA ensures that the EU will preserve the mandatory mushy energy attain in such a pivotal area and thus stay a significant actor within the worldwide system.

Certainly – greater than the rest – this centrality of South East Asia within the rising Asia-centric world order is the rationale why ASEAN is the important thing to EU strategic autonomy. The power to train affect and form market requirements on this area would be the determinant of an autonomous energy in a lot the identical means as European affect decided the Nice Powers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. If European pursuits are sidelined, if ASEAN fragments, and if the US and China are allowed to form and outline the area, then the multilateral order will give method to one that’s firmly bipolar, and any notion of strategic autonomy will develop into the fantasy of a forgotten period. An interregional FTA is the important thing to avoiding such a world. The EU-ASEAN FTA would facilitate the existence of a minimum of two extra main powers within the worldwide order, protect some semblance of a multilateral system, and strengthen the strategic autonomy of each organisations. On this means, past lastly attaining the elusive notion of autonomy, interregionalism may very well be the important thing to avoiding the worst of a brand new Chilly Conflict.


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