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Third Plenum CCP

Assessment of the CCP Third Party Plenum

26 November 2013

On 26 November, the EU-Asia Centre and the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (BICCS) held a panel debate to assess the Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee. All panellists were agreed that the economic reforms announced on 15 November were very comprehensive and urgently needed. The key question, however, would be the speed and effectiveness of implementation.

Jin Ling, Research Fellow of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) said there was a clear trend towards the internationalization of the Chinese Yuan and commended the reforms designed to combat climate change and improve China’s energy mix. Looking at EU-China relations, she saw both at a critical juncture in their development. Much depended on the next steps. The summit between China and the CEECs (16+1 Summit) was complementary to relations with the EU and were not part of a ‘divide and rule’ strategy. Different regions possessed different characteristics that made it reasonable for China to deal with them separately.

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Panel 1

ASEAN Secretary General calls for closer ties with EU

15 October 2013

Speaking at a conference organised by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU-Asia Centre on 15 October, Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary General, said that the EU was a long-standing and valued partner. It was important to align future EU-ASEAN cooperation to take into account new developments, requirements and needs of the post 2015ASEAN Community. There was much the two bodies could do together to deepen their relations, from trade and investment to closer cooperation in the multilateral institutions.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders agreed and stressed that the EU and ASEAN were ‘natural partners that share the same DNA.’ The EU supported ASEAN’s integration and recognised its centrality in an evolving Asian regional architecture. The EU wanted to see ‘a strong, united and self-confident ASEAN which we can address in a block-to-block dialogue.’

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EU-Asia Centre

EU-ASEAN High Level conference

15 October 2013

EU-ASEAN High Level conference on 15 October with Didier Reynders and Le Luong Minh, the Secretary General of ASEAN (by invitation only)

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India and China

INVITATION: India and China - Friends or Rivals? 25/09, 1500-1700h, EP

25 September 2013

The EU-Asia Centre invites you to a debate on relations between India and China in the European Parliament on 25 September from 1500-1700 in A5G-1 (Altiero Spinelli Building). Although India and China are fellow members of the BRICS and enjoy a strategic partnership, there are many tensions in the relationship from border disputes to India hosting the Dalai Lama. The debate will consider the prospects for future relations between the two Asia superpowers. Is China a threat to India’s regional interests? What is the impact of China’s friendship with Pakistan? Will the border issue continue to sour relations? Are there common security concerns? Will a democratic India overtake China in the economic race? What are the main areas for cooperation? The EU has a strategic partnership with both powers and thus has a close interest in their relations.

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India China 250913

India and China – Friends or Rivals?

25 September 2013

On 25 September, the EU-Asia Centre held a panel debate in the European Parliament chaired by Sir Graham Watson, MEP, on “India and China – Friends or Rivals?” Setting the scene, Watson said that there had been relatively little contact between the two Asian giants in the 1950s and 60s. The 1962 war was unfortunate and still left a scar on bilateral relations. More recently there had been measures to improve relations and this year it was noticeable that the prime ministers would each make bilateral visits to the other. As both countries had strategic partnerships with the EU it was vital that we followed this relationship.

The relations could be best described as ‘muddling through and keeping up appearances’, said Jonathan Holslag from the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies. The number of dialogues between both countries (including military to military) had increased greatly over the last years and there was some coordination on global affairs e.g. climate change. But there was no discussion on non-security threats. India retained a large trade deficit with China, providing raw materials and few services.

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Afghanistan: How has the EU (and NATO) performed?

5 September 2013

Speaking at a policy briefing on 5 September the former EUSR and ambassador to Afghanistan, Vygaudis Usackis, gave a positive assessment of the EU’s role there. Jamie Shea from NATO also defended his organisation’s role while Stig Toft Madsen from the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies offered a more sceptical assessment.

Usackis said he left Kabul with a sense of pride at what the EU had done. The situation was far from perfect. Indeed it was still fragile and reversible. But there had been tangible progress and the EU now needed to maintain its support. The security situation had improved, the EU police training mission was a success and there had been improvements right across the social sector, from education to health. The economic situation, however, was worrying as the state budget was still over-reliant on foreign aid – up to 90%. 2014 would be a crucial year. The priorities were the elections, tackling corruption, an independent judiciary, human rights and economic development. Efforts against extremism, radicalism and poverty would have to be maintained. And there needed to be more local ownership.

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Crouching Tiger - Tamed Bull

EU-Asia Centre/Gallup event “Crouching tiger – tamed bull”

25 July 2013

On 25 July, Gallup Europe and the EU-Asia Centre held a briefing on the possible establishment of an ‘EU-Asia Monitor’ to survey public opinion in both regions. The briefing was chaired by Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre. He welcomed the idea of an EU-Asia Monitor and put forward some questions for the discussion. How to define Asia? Should the EU have an Asia strategy – as opposed to a regional or country strategy? Do Asia and Europe share common values? What future for ASEM?

The monitor proposal was presented by Andrzej Pyrka, consultant at Gallup Singapore. Using data from the Gallup World Poll, he showed how both regions viewed each other’s political leaders and how they compared regarding social and economic sentiment and future outlook. Due to the wide coverage of topics of the Gallup World Poll, not all issues important to EU-Asia relations could be adequately surveyed. Therefore, an ‘EU-Asia Monitor’ could facilitate more in depth analysis of issues and enhance understanding of perceptions on both sides.

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Learn at Lunch

Learn@Lunch Event “Crouching tiger, tamed bull? – Comparing sentiment and attitudes in Asia and Europe”

12 July 2013

The Gallup Organisation Europe (Gallup Europe) and Gallup Singapore in cooperation with the EU-Asia Centre will hold a Learn@Lunch event on “Crouching tiger, tamed bull? – Comparing sentiment and attitudes in Asia and Europe” on 25 July at 11.45 am. This panel discussion will address the state of play of EU-Asian relations and the need for a bi-regional survey instrument such as an Asia-Europe Monitor.

As an introduction to Gallup’s large-scale comparative opinion polling effort in Asia and Europe, Andrzej Pyrka, consultant at Gallup Singapore will present key insights into the two continents\' strengths and weaknesses drawing extensively on the Gallup World Poll.

This event is by invitation only.

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INVITATION: Keynote Address on South China Sea

9 July 2013

The EU-Asia Centre, together with the Mission of the Philippines to the EU, cordially invites you to a Keynote Address on regional approaches to building maritime security in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea by H.E. Albert del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, which will be held on 09 July 2013 at 1100h at the Press Club, Rue Froissart 95.

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Del Rosario Keynote Address

Philippine Foreign Minister Addresses EU-Asia Centre

9 July 2013

Albert del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, spoke on regional approaches to building maritime security in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea on 9 July.

Del Rosario began his address with an overview of European history and the development of the European Union. He then stressed the great contribution of adherence to a rules-based system to the EU’s achievement of securing peace within Europe. ASEAN’s goals of ensuring peace and stability within Southeast Asia were similar.

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