EAST consists of two research clusters. One cluster researches trade relations between the EU and Asia, as well as responses from the two region to global developments. The second cluster researches security relations between the EU and Asia, and compares responses to traditional and non-traditional security issues as well as bilateral relations between the EU and key Asian powers.


The EU discourse about European security, contained in key documents such as the European Union Global Strategy, consistently links European security to developments in Asia. Indeed, frequently concerns are being expressed in Europe about security risks emanating from Asia (e.g. due to the North Korean missile and nuclear programmes and tensions in the South China Sea), there is scant evidence on how effective the EU has been in practice in achieving security cooperation with Asian partners. The proposed paper develops a conceptual frame to facilitate a systematic assessment of the various security areas (e.g., military security, human security, regional security) that potentially link the EU to the Asia-Pacific region.

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The Asia-Pacific has become the primary market where global powers assert their economic and geo-political ambitions. Already in 2006, the European Commission communicated that the region would be amongst its primary targets for the new (bilateral) trade agenda. It was in this region that economic growth would occur and where the EU’s export and investment opportunities would be the largest. The US’ pivot to Asia and the increasing assertiveness of China in international trade further stimulated interest in the region.

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