ASEAN-European Union ministerial meeting, Kuala Lumpur, 5-6 August 2015. Photo: European External Action Service [EEAS]

ASEAN-European Union ministerial meeting, Kuala Lumpur, 5-6 August 2015. Photo: European External Action Service [EEAS]. More on this

The EU should stay its independent course in East Asia, says a new study from the journal, Europe’s World.

Written by two academics based in The Hague, the Netherlands, the study published online on 29 January 2014 preambles, “The EU has long been criticised for ‘free riding’ in the Asia-Pacific region.” But,  authors Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Frans-Paul van der Putten add that may be coming to an end as the EU reboots its East Asia policy.

“The times may be ending when Europe can easily be accused of being a ‘free rider’ in the Asia-Pacific region, add Okano-Heijmans and van der Putten.

“For decades Europeans have benefited economically from efforts made by the United States and East Asian countries, while doing nothing to contribute to peace and stability in the region – or so the argument went. But Brussels’ preparedness to engage more thoroughly with East Asian affairs is growing, as recent proclamations demonstrate,” add the authors, Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Frans-Paul van der Putten.

“This gradual maturing of the EU’s Asia policy deserves a salute, as the dearth of political engagement of Europe with the region has long been lamented by many in Europe, Asia and the United States alike. But it also raises the question whether Brussels can reinforce its approach with deepened knowledge and further action.”

Europe’s World describes itself as “the only independent Europe-wide policy journal,” produced as it is in association with “some 150-plus” leading European think tanks and academic institutions. More of this article.

The authors are both senior research fellows at the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague.