The Visibility of the European Union as a Development Actor in the South and East Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific - EU External Perceptions - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

The Visibility of the European Union as a Development Actor in the South and East Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific

Time Line

2006 - 2008

Countries in Focus

South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji, Samoa. the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea.

This project purports to contribute to the EU’s international relations in terms of its commitment to peace, development, human rights and democracy and thereby facilitate the dialogue between the EU and other peoples and cultures (Pacific, African and Asian). This project involves a unique major comparative study of attitudes and citizens’ perceptions of the EU as a development actor in these three regions never before undertaken.  This multidisciplinary project also targets the study of the EU/Europe international actor image in “third” countries -- a challenging and still under-researched area in the EU identity scholarship.

Although the EU is a leading development actor globally, little data is available on how third citizenry perceive the EU and no comparative studies have explicitly examined the EU’s development image in selected regions.  The project traces the broad public perceptions and attitudes towards the EU as a development actor across three African-Asian-Pacific regions.  All three regions look to the EU for significant development aid and data generated by the project have the direct influence on regional public policy responses through enhancing a more informed consideration and awareness of different initiatives of the EU.  This data will be used as direct mechanisms for Development Ministries and of the European Commission Delegations in respective countries in each region.

GlobeThe inspiration behind the research project -The Perceptions of the European Union as a Development Actor: a comparative analysis of media representations, public opinion and practitioner views in the Pacific, South East Asia and Southern African regions – stems from the findings of a previously funded Jean Monnet Action project on media and public perceptions of the EU in general in the Asia-Pacific region. A striking finding in this previous innovative research was the general low level of media coverage and public awareness of the EU as a significant development actor (in terms of aid, trade, debt relief and poverty reduction) committed to meeting all of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Consequently, this project seeks to focus more precisely on this topic - that of the images of the EU as a “development actor” in the international public discourses - while applying the existing proven methodology in order to facilitate comparative analysis. The chosen regions reflect the EU’s diverse development mechanisms and groupings, combining the African and Pacific elements under the Cotonou process with the EU’s separate South East Asian strategy.

After Lisbon Hanmer Springs day 2
VIP Interim workshop
After Lisbon Singapore workshop
VIP Hanoi


EU A 149,000 Euro grant for the period 2006/08 under the “Dialogue between peoples and cultures” initiative of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture, EU Commission, Jean Monnet Programme, budget line.
EUC 3,000 NZD grant from NZ European Union Centers Network for the Pilot Study: The Visibility of the European Union as a Development Actor in the Pacific Media. Pilot Study (2006).
NCRE The National Centre for Research on Europe, University o f Canterbury, New Zealand.
  • National Centre for Research on Europe
    Kirkwood Village KD04
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
  • Contact page
  • Tel: +64 3 364 2348
    Fax: +64 3 364 2634
  • Follow us
    FacebookYoutubetwitterLinked In