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These publications include not only the ones produced by the EU-Asia Centre and our partner organisations but also any that we think of interest to our readers 


ASEAN – Still Democratic?

By Ariane Combal-Weiss

23 October 2017

In this 50th anniversary year of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), there are increasing concerns about the decline in democracy in the region. In the past year, the EU has repeatedly expressed alarm over the systematic human rights abuses and violations of fundamental freedoms in different ASEAN countries. The European Parliament’s resolution on 3 October, for example, stated that the EP was “deeply concerned at the erosion of democracy and the violations of human and minority rights and continued repression and discrimination in countries of the region.”[1] The declining democracy is also affecting EU policy towards the region. The FTA negotiations with Thailand are on hold while during her visit to ASEAN countries in March, Trade Commissioner Malmström warned that the human rights abuses in the Philippines could threaten the Philippines’ exports to the EU and the negotiations towards a bilateral FTA.[2] Other EU officials and parliamentarians have made similar statements condemning the restriction of civil liberties and fundamental rights in the region,[3] and supporting the ceaseless commitment of human rights activists.[4]There have also been critical voices from within ASEAN. Under the 2012 ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, all ten members pledged to protect human rights and democracy. In September, however, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) warned about the worrying state of civil liberties and fundamental rights in Southeast Asia.[5]

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Can OBOR bring the EU and China closer together?

By Fraser Cameron, Director

17 April 2017

Although the geographical limits of OBOR have never been defined, the initiative has a domestic as much as an international context.It aims to close development gaps within China, provide an outlet for surplus capacity, and also improve connectivity between China and Europe. It is part of the overall Going Global strategy. OBOR enjoys strong support at the highest levels in China whereas European opinion is more cautious and waiting to see whether concrete projects materialize. No one doubts the need for massive infrastructure investment in the many countries between China and the EU but the OBOR initiative could face many potential pitfalls including political instability, terrorism, corruption, high costs, harsh terrain, long distances to the market, and tensions with other great powers. It is clear that far greater attention should be paid to political risk analysis for the successful implementation of OBOR. The Chinese should be wary of over-selling OBOR. Some official commentaries have tended to exaggerate the achievements to date. Shared interests should lead  to China-Europe cooperation on OBOR. The vision for OBOR is ambitious, but if well implemented, it has the potential to benefit the various countries and societies along the road, not least in promoting sustainable development. It could also impact on global governance. The popularity and success of OBOR initiative will depend not only on the economic gains and benefits, but also on successful cooperation on issues such as culture, tourism and people to people exchanges.

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Education: South Asia’s foundation for the future

By Transatlantic Academy

7 February 2017

This policy brief analyses the current state of basic education in South Asia and the different areas that require attention to improve it. This study focuses in particular in three key areas: the impediments to school inscription and attendance; the teachers’ role for quality education; the ideology in educat ion, in particular religion and nationalism. The policy brief argues that the qual i ty of schools rather than attendance is the main issue to be addressed. For this, teachers are fundamental. Likewise, the content of what is being taught must also be revised in order to promote a tolerant and inclusive world vision.

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