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ASEAN and the European Union: A Bumpy Interregional Relationship. ZEI Discussion Papers: 2001, C 95

Rüland, Jürgen (2001) ASEAN and the European Union: A Bumpy Interregional Relationship. ZEI Discussion Papers: 2001, C 95. [Discussion Paper]

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    [Introduction]. Although diehard realists still view the nation state as the main actor in an anarchical international environment, its dominant role has come under siege. Analysts inspired by neoliberal and institutionalist thinking hold against realists that globalization has shaped an international system in which interdependence and cooperation have fostered the rise of new influential actors such as inter- and transnational organizations. It is thus no accident that there is a rapidly growing literature which treats international institutions both as a dependent as well as an independendent variable of state behavior. Regional organizations, proliferating in the past two decades, have been a particular focus of this research. While there exists now considerable knowledge on the genesis, evolution, efficiency and legitimacy of such regional organizations and, vice versa, their impact on the behavior of nation states, scholars have neglected the fact that regional organizations are developing their own external relations and becoming actors in their own right (Cremona 1998; Ginsberg 1999). While the European Union (EU) is spearheading these developments, other regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mercosur, the Andean Community, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to name only a few, are busily developing their own interregional networks. Dating back to the early 1970s, ASEAN-EU relations have been spearheading this novel trend. As the perhaps most advanced interregional relationship, thirty years of ASEAN-EU cooperation provide a rich empirical base for evaluating the achievements of these ties. For this purpose an analytical framework highlighting five major functions of interregionalism will be developed in the next section. Viewed from different theoretical angles, it attaches to interregionalism balancing, institution-building, rationalizing, agenda-setting and identity-building functions. While the extent to which these functions can be identified in the ASEAN-EU relationship provides us with more systematic insights into the latter’s substance, our analytical framework transcends ASEAN-EU relations. It permits us to offer some still tentative answers to the theoretically more challenging issue in what way interregional fora contribute to an emergent structure of global governance. Are they forming nodal points of international relations, thereby facilitating a division of labor among international institutions? Or are they part of what Reinecke calls a "loose set of crossnational policy patchworks, conspicuous for their missing links and unnecessary overlaps" (Reinecke 1998:10)? Although a case study like the one presented here is hardly able to provide exhaustive answers to such farreaching questions, they will nevertheless be reconsidered in the concluding section of this paper. The preceding two sections, discussing the empirical material, subdivide ASEAN-EU relations into two major periods: the first covering the period until the end of the Cold War (1972-1990), the second focussing on the postbipolar era (1990-2001).

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    Item Type: Discussion Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: International regional organizations; interregionalism.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > regionalism, international
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Asia-general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Bonn, Center for European Integration Studies > ZEI Discussion Papers
    Depositing User: Peter Zervakis
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2003
    Page Range: p. 43
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:14

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