Advertisement

International Politics

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 359–374 | Cite as

Leveraging interregionalism: EU strategic interests in Asia, Latin America and the Gulf region

  • Katharina Luise MeissnerEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

The European Union’s (EU) use of interregionalism in its foreign policy is longstanding. This also translated into trade negotiations with regional organizations: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Yet, the EU waived interregionalism in favor of bilateralism in negotiations with ASEAN and CAN, while it maintained interregionalism toward the GCC. Why is this so? Investigating the EU’s strategic interests in these regions, the article argues that geoeconomics drove the negotiations with ASEAN and CAN, while political interests in counterbalancing the USA and China motivated the negotiations with the GCC. Thus, in the first two cases, the EU sacrificed interregionalism for an ambitious trade agreement, whereas with the GCC it maintained interregionalism although this prevented the conclusion of an eventual agreement. Leveraging interviews with EU officials, this article provides a nuanced perspective on strategic interests in interregionalism.

Keywords

Regionalism European Union Foreign policy Geoeconomics Interregionalism 

References

  1. Adiwasito, E., de Lombaerde, P. and Pietrangeli, G. 2006. On the joint assessment of andean integration in EU-CAN relations. OBREAL/EULARO Background Paper.Google Scholar
  2. Aggarwal, V., and E. Fogarty. 2004. Explaining trends in EU interregionalism. In European Union trade strategies: Between globalism and regionalism, ed. V. Aggarwal, and E. Fogarty, 207–241. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Antkiewicz, A., and B. Momani. 2009. Pursuing geopolitical stability through interregional trade: The EU’s motives for negotiating with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Journal of European Integration 31(2): 217–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baabood, A. 2015. Changing global dynamics between the Gulf, the US, and Asia: Implications for the EU. In The Gulf monarchies beyond the Arab spring: Changes and challenges, ed. L. Narbone, and M. O’Lestra, 18–25. Florence: European University Institute.Google Scholar
  5. Börzel, T., and T. Risse. 2012. From Europeanisation to diffusion: Introduction. West European Politics 35(1): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Camroux, D. 2010. Interregionalism or merely a fourth-level game? An examination of the EU-ASEAN relationship. East Asia 27(1): 57–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Civil Society Dialogue (2008) DG Trade Civil Society Dialogue. Available at: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2008/november/tradoc_141294.pdf. Access 02 Mar 2017.
  8. Colombo, S. and Committieri, C. 2013. Need to Rethink the EU-GCC Strategic Relationship—Shakara Conceptual Paper. Shakara Research Paper No. 1. Istituto Affari Internazionali.Google Scholar
  9. Commission 2002. GCC-EU 12th Joint Council and Ministerial meeting. Available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-02-346_en.htm. Access 02 Mar 2017.
  10. Commission 2003. GCC-EU 13th Joint Council and Ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar. Available at: http://eu-un.europa.eu/gcc-eu-13th-joint-council-and-ministerial-meeting-in-doha-qatar/. Access 02 Mar 2017.
  11. Commission 2013. The economic impact of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Available at: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/september/tradoc_151724.pdf. Access 02 Mar 2017.
  12. Commission 2017a. Andean community. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/andean-community/. Access: 02 Mar 2017.
  13. Commission 2017b. Gulf region. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/gulf-region/. Access 11 Sept 2017.
  14. Cuyvers, L. 2007. An EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement: Reflection on issues, priorities, strategies. Centre for ASEAN Studies Discussion Paper No 53. Antwerp.Google Scholar
  15. Dabène, O. 2012. Consistency and resilience through cycles of repoliticization. In The rise of post-hegemonic regionalism, ed. P. Riggirozzi, and D. Tussie, 41–64. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Damro, C. 2012. Market power Europe. Journal of European Public Policy 19(5): 682–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Demmelhuber, T., and C. Kaunert. 2014. The EU and the Gulf monarchies: normative power Europe in search of a strategy for engagement. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 27(3): 574–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dimon, D. 2006. EU and US regionalism: The case of Latin America. The International Trade Journal 20(2): 185–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Doidge, M. 2008. Joined at the hip: Regionalism and interregionalism. Journal of European Integration 29(2): 229–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Echagüe, A. 2007. The European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council. FRIDE Working Paper No. 39. Madrid.Google Scholar
  21. EEAS 2015a. The EU’s relations with the Andean Community. Available: http://eeas.europa.eu/andean/index_en.htm. Access 27 Nov 2015.
  22. EEAS 2015b. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the EU. Available: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/338/gulf-cooperation-council-gcc-and-eu_en. Access 02 Mar 2017.
  23. Farrell, M. 2009. EU policy towards other regions: Policy learning in the external promotion of regional integration. Journal of European Public Policy 16(8): 1165–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Feres, C., and J.A. Sanahuja. 2005. Study on relations between the European Union and Latin America: New strategies and perspectives. Madrid: Instituto Complutense De Estudios Internacionales.Google Scholar
  25. Fritz, T. 2010. The Second Conquest: The EU Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru. Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Latinamerika.Google Scholar
  26. Giacalone, R. 2007. Is European inter regionalism a relevant approach for the world or just for Europe? Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series 17(14): 3–17.Google Scholar
  27. Grosse, G.T. 2014. Geoeconomic relations between the EU and China: The lessons from the EU weapon embargo and from Galileo. Geopolitics 19(1): 40–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haubrich Seco, M. 2011. Decoupling Trade from Politics: The EU and Region-Building in the Andes. IAI Working Paper 11/20. Istituto Affari Internationazionli.Google Scholar
  29. He, K. 2008. Institutional balancing and international relations theory: Economic interdependence and balance of power strategies in Southeast Asia. European Journal of International Relations 14(3): 489–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Interview #1 2014. EEAS, Head of Unit. Brussels, Belgium. March 11, 2014.Google Scholar
  31. Interview #2 2014. European Commission, DG Agriculture, Desk Officer. Brussels, Belgium. March 14, 2014.Google Scholar
  32. Interview #3 2014. European Commission, DG Trade, Desk Officer. Brussels, Belgium. March 19, 2014.Google Scholar
  33. Interview #4 2014. EEAS, Head of Unit. Brussels, Belgium. March 20, 2014.Google Scholar
  34. Interview #5 2014. European Commission, DG Trade, Head of Unit. Brussels, Belgium. March 21, 2014.Google Scholar
  35. Interview #6 2014. European Commission, DG Trade, Desk Officer. Brussels, Belgium. March 28, 2014.Google Scholar
  36. Interview #7 2014. Singaporean Embassy to the EU. Brussels, Belgium. April 07, 2014.Google Scholar
  37. Interview #8 2014. European Commission, DG Trade, Desk Officer. Brussels, Belgium. April 08, 2014.Google Scholar
  38. Interview #9 2014. Thai Embassy to the EU. Brussels, Belgium. April 18, 2014.Google Scholar
  39. Interview #10 2014. Expert at UDELAR. Montevideo, Uruguay. August 08, 2014.Google Scholar
  40. Kostadinova, V. 2013. What is the Status of the EU-GCC Relationship? GRC Gulf Paper. Gulf Research Center.Google Scholar
  41. Lindberg, L. 2007. The national element in regional trade agreements: The role of Southeast Asian countries in ASEAN-EU trade. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 24(2): 1–6.Google Scholar
  42. Luttwak, E.N. 1990. From geopolitics to geo-economics: Logic of conflict. Grammar of Commerce. The National Interest 20 (summer): 17–23.Google Scholar
  43. Mattlin, M., and M. Wigell. 2016. Geoeconomics in the context of restive regional powers. Asia Europe Journal 14(2): 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meissner, K.L. 2016. A case of failed inter-regionalism? Analysing the EU-ASEAN free trade agreement negotiations. Asia Europe Journal 14(3): 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Murau, S., and K. Spandler. 2016. EU, US and ASEAN actorness in G20 financial policy-making: Bridging the EU studies–new regionalism divide. Journal of Common Market Studies 54(4): 928–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Paul, T.V. 2005. Soft balancing in the age of U.S. primacy. International Security 30(1): 46–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Robles, A. 2008. An EU-ASEAN FTA: The EU’s failures as an international actor. European Foreign Affairs Review 13(4): 541–560.Google Scholar
  48. Roloff, R. 2006. Interregionalism in theoretical perspective: State of the art. In Interregionalism and international relations, ed. H. Hänggi, R. Roloff, and J. Rüland, 17–31. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Rüland, J. 2001. ASEAN and the European Union: A Bumpy Interregional Relationship. Discussion Paper C 95, 2001. Bonn.Google Scholar
  50. Rüland, J. 2010. Balancers, multilateral utilities or regional identity builders? International relations and the study of interregionalism. Journal of European Public Policy 17(8): 1271–1283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sbragia, A. 2010. The EU, the US, and trade policy: Competitive interdependence in the management of globalization. Journal of European Public Policy 17(3): 368–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Söderbaum, F. 2015. Rethinking regionalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Söderbaum, F., F. StÅlgren, and L. van Langenhove. 2005. The EU as a global actor and the dynamics of interregionalism: A comparative analysis. Journal of European Integration 27(3): 365–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Szegedy-Maszák, I. 2009. Association/free trade agreement—Bi-regional partnership between European Union and Andean Community. Revista De Derecho 32: 218–245.Google Scholar
  55. US (2015) Overview of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Available: https://ustr.gov/tpp/overview-of-the-TPP. Access 21 May 2015.
  56. Wigell, M. 2016. Conceptualizing regional powers’ geoeconomic strategies: neo-imperialism, neo-mercantilism, hegemony, and liberal institutionalism. Asia Europe Journal 14(2): 135–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wigell, M., and A. Vihma. 2016. Geopolitics versus geoeconomics: the case of Russia’s geostrategy and its effects on the EU. International Affairs 92(3): 605–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wunderlich, J.-U. 2012. The EU an actor Sui Generis? A comparison of EU and ASEAN actorness. Journal of Common Market Studies 50(4): 653–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Youngs, R. 2011. Geo-economic futures. In Challenges for European foreign policy in 2012: What kind of geo-economic Europe?, ed. A. Martiningui, and R. Youngs, 13–19. Madrid: FRIDE.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for European Integration Research EIFUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations