Leveraging interregionalism: EU strategic interests in Asia, Latin America and the Gulf region
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.
KeywordsRegionalism European Union Foreign policy Geoeconomics Interregionalism
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