After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM - EU External Perceptions - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM

Time Line


Countries in Focus

Australia, India, Japan, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore South Korea and Thailand

About the study

January 1st 2010 marked a watershed in EU external relations. With the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the appointment of the first High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy(HR) and the launch of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU embraced on a new phase of international diplomacy. This innovation has been acknowledged as an opportunity for the EU to become “…a major actor in global affairs”.1

This introduction highlights four particular points of significance for the project, After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM. The innovative research provides a unique and immediate mechanism to assess the impact of the Lisbon Treaty innovations. The project Consortium had previously conducted “EU Perceptions” research during 2002-9. The findings of these research projects revealed an overall low-level visibility of the EU evident in the Asia-Pacific region under the Maastricht and Amsterdam provisions. Hence, the project is well equipped to assess and compare the impact of the EEAS and HR. The timing of this new initiative is crucial. The EEAS has been operational since 2010; hence the project has been able to assess the EEAS’ visibility and impact during its formative years.

Secondly, the EU’s ‘normative’ identity combines the rule of law, governance and democracy with ‘hard’ power decisions, giving the EU “a unique opportunity to brand itself as a beacon of civilization and prosperity”2.
To test this claim, the project has conducted a comparative study of external views of the EU as a global authority and model of integration, environmental initiatives, human rights and democracy in Asia and the role of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) process in shaping these views.

Thirdly, the project has trained a new young researcher cohort and provided them with methodological expertise as well as a substantive expertise in EU Studies. To date, the vast majority of EU experts in the region are either of EU origin or were trained in the EU. This project has therefore helped to develop local expertise and incited a growth in indigenous EU expertise in Asia, something which is important if the EU is able to positively influence events beyond its borders.

Finally, with perceptions studies being an integral part of EU public diplomacy, the study will contribute to a more informed people-to-people dialogue between Europe and Asia especially in light of the Lisbon Treaty and the changing framework of EU external action. Indeed, the Lisbon Treaty provides a revolutionary way for the EU to communicate outside of its borders.

After Lisbon Hanmer Springs day 2
After Lisbon Hanmer Springs day 2
After Lisbon Singapore workshop
After Lisbon Singapore workshop
After Lisbon Singapore
After Lisbon Singapore


NCRE National Centre for Research on Europe EUC Singapore EU Commission ASEF

1 Emerson, M, Balfour, R, Corthaut,  Maciej Kaczyński, P, Renard, T, and Wouters, J "Upgrading the EU's Role as Global Actor: Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy" Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2011.

2 Van Ham, P. “Place Branding: The State of Art, in G. Cowan and N. Cull, ‘Public Diplomacy in a Changing World’, The Annals, Vol. 616, 2008, pp.126-149, 137.

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