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Pakistan: regional powerhouse or dysfunctional troublemaker?

19 November 2014

As leaders of South Asian countries gather in Kathmandu for the latest SAARC summit,attention will focus once more on the tensions between the two giants of the regional grouping, Pakistan and India. What role does - and should - Pakistan have within the region as a new government in India settles into office and a new president takes office in an Afghanistan now largely devoid of foreign combat troops? Is Pakistan ready to use these changes as an opportunity for asserting a leadership role within the region, and moving towards détente with India? And how are internal Pakistani security and political issues (role of the army, terrorism, US drone strikes, human rights) affecting Pakistan\'s projection of its influence in the region? What role should the EU play? The EU-Asia Centre will also be presenting its latest research paper, on the ongoing conflict in Baluchistan - sometimes called Pakistan\'s secret war - and its effects on internal and regional security.

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Friends in the Asia-Pacific: The EU, Australia and New Zealand

13 November 2014

Opening the event, Mark Higgie, Australian ambassador to the EU, drew attention to the enormous sacrifices that Australian (and NZ) forces had made in Europe in the First World War. Relations with the EU had long been dominated by agriculture but this was no longer such an important topic. The EU was Australia’s second trade partner and first provider of FDI. Canberra was deepening its ties with Asia and with Europe. There was no contradiction. It was close to finalising a new framework agreement with the EU. A possible FTA lay in the future. As regards the upcoming G20 in Brisbane, Australia was looking for concrete outcomes rather than lengthy statements.

Vangelis Vitalis, New Zealand ambassador to the EU, pointed to the enormous changes in the world in the past two decades, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.  From a NZ perspective it was important to see who its friends were – and the EU certainly shared the same values as NZ. It would seek to promote these values as a newly elected member of the UNSC. NZ enjoyed a close relationship with the EU in many areas, from trade to security, from the environment to education. Both parties were key players in the Pacific, especially on energy and climate change. NZ was also finalising a framework agreement with the EU but Wellington would like a commitment to start work on an FTA. The resource question was understood but the EU also needed to decide on priorities. It was politically difficult to explain why the EU was reluctant to negotiate an FTA with NZ when it had done so with many other small countries around the globe. This situation left NZ at a disadvantage over other countries in the commercial field. Australia was NZ’s number one trade partner, followed by China and then the EU.

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Aus vs NZ

Invitation-Friends in the Asia-Pacific: The EU, Australia and New Zealand

28 October 2014

As EU leaders prepare to head off to Brisbane for the G20 summit on 16-17 November, this event will consider the EU\'s relationship with two of its closest partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, and New Zealand. These two countries share the EU\'s values across a wide range of issues, including a shared commitment to human rights, democracy and open markets. They work together bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally across a wide range of political, economic and security issues. Currently, both Australia and New Zealand are also in the process of separately finalising their political partnership agreements with Brussels. It is therefore timely to consider where to next in these relationships. What do Australia and New Zealand want from their relationship with the EU and how might the EU work most effectively with these likeminded partners in the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly?

The event will be held from 1700-1830 on 12 November followed by a wine reception in the Press Club, 95 Rue Froissart, 1040 Brussels

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China goes west

“China Goes West: What Chinese direct investment means for the EU.”

14 October 2014

On the 14th of October, the EU-Asia Centre held a panel discussion on Chinese outward direct investment in the EU with Joel Backaler, of Frontier Strategy Group and author of “China Goes West.” His book gives a clear message: Chinese investment will grow – and it is time for the West to come to terms with it. But changes in attitude and behaviour in business and government will be needed on both sides to maximize the potential benefit and avoid risks.

In his opening remarks. John Farnell, Senior Adviser, EU-Asia Centre, raised three questions for discussion: 1) whether headline stories of a Chinese strategy of buying up Europe actually fit the facts? 2) what kind of Chinese companies or funds are investing in Europe and why? 3) what the reaction of EU governments and businesses has been so far to this investment, and whether that reaction is adequate? 

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China goes to west

Invitation: “China Goes West: What Chinese direct investment means for the EU.”

23 September 2014

The EU-Asia Centre invites you to attend the conference “China Goes West: What Chinese direct investment means for the EU.” The event will be held on,Tuesday, 14th of October,2014, at the Brussels Press Club,95 Rue Froissart, 1000 Brussels, starting at 17:00.

International investment flows are now a critical component of the global economy, transferring capital, technology and skills and contributing to increased competition, innovation and growth in host countries. As China moves towards becoming the world’s largest economy, its outward foreign direct investment is growing, not just in developing countries but also in the world’s most sophisticated markets, including the European Union. The EU and China have opened negotiations this year for a bilateral investment treaty intended to set the terms of access and protection for two-way EU-China direct investment. 

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Conference Report: ‘ASEM - Asia and Europe Working Together’

19 September 2014

Executive Summary

This conference brought together over 250 participants from civil society, think tanks, academic experts, the media, business, as well as officials from the EU institutions and member states of ASEM.

The objective was to provide an opportunity for civil society to make its views known on a number of key issues in advance of the 10th ASEM summit in October in Milan.  The themes and speakers for each panel were chosen in close cooperation with the EEAS to reflect the issues likely to be discussed at the Milan summit.

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INVITATION - ASEM: Asia and Europe Working Together

16 September 2014

The EU-Asia Centre, together with the EEAS and the European Commission, invites you to attend the conference “ASEM – Asia and Europe Working Together.” The event will be held on Tuesday, 16 September 2014, at the European Commission Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170 in Brussels, starting at 0900.

Taking place exactly one month before the ASEM 10 Summit in Milan on 16-17 October, the conference will be an important opportunity for a public dialogue on Asia-Europe relations. In particular, it will provide an occasion for interested stakeholders and experts outside the official sphere to present their ideas on the ASEM process and its future and to provide inspiration for the official discussions to be held in Milan. 

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Event Cancelled - The Future of EU-ASEAN Relations

23 July 2014

Due to unforeseen circumstances involving some of the panellists for the event on ‘The Future of EU-ASEAN Relations’ scheduled for tomorrow, 23 July, we regret that we have to cancel the event.

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ECRAN Young Scholars Roundtable

19 June 2014

Organised alongside the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN) annual conference in Brussels, the EU-Asia Centre organised a roundtable for young scholars on 17 and 19 of June. The goal of the roundtable was to bring together young researchers working on EU-China relations with senior academics and policy makers in that field and to foster the exchange of ideas and research. The roundtable took place on two days, before and after the ECRAN annual conference, to give the young scholars the opportunity to attend the conference and establish contacts with experts in the field.

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India Votes – Implications for the EU

21 May 2014

On 20 May, the EU-Asia Centre held a panel discussion on the outcome of the general elections in India and the implications for EU-India relations. Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri said the elections were a massive demonstration of support for India’s democracy. Over 500 million votes had been cast with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning 282 and over 330 seats with their allies. The elections had been held in a peaceful, fair, and free manner. The leader of the BJP, Narendra Modi, had won majorities in all parts of the country which was evidence of the desire for a change. There were high hopes that the new government would tackle development issues, boost economic growth, and continue win-win cooperation with other countries. Even though the foreign policy priorities of the incoming government were not clear yet, it was likely that the EU would be near the top of the list. Indeed the COO of the EEAS would be visiting India on 26 June for a meeting of the EU-India Joint Commission.

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