How the EU is seen in Asia, and what to do about it
In Asia's major capitals, the last few years have seen marked shifts in perspectives on the European Union. Not so long ago the EU was viewed as everything from a rising political power to a model for regional order. The combination of economic stagnation and the painful process of fixing the EU's institutional arrangements has been part of the problem. More importantly, to many Asian eyes, the world has been changing more quickly than the EU's ability to keep up. They see a European Union and its Member States clinging to their privileges in the old global order rather than shaping the new one.
They see Europe divided, provincial and post-modern in a globalised world where large, modern powers count most. This is as much a caricature as other perceptions were a few years back: the Europe set to run the twenty-first century, the emerging EU-China axis and the EU super-ego challenging the American id. But the 'declining Europe' narrative in Asia will have a major impact on the EU's capacity to defend its values and interests-not just in the region but on the global stage.
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