Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 239–260 | Cite as

European perspectives towards the rise of Asia: contextualising the debate

  • Luis SimónEmail author
  • Stephan Klose
Original Paper


To what extent can we speak of a distinctively ‘European’ security approach towards the Asia-Pacific region? In order to address that timely question, this article examines how Britain, France, Germany and the European Union (EU) are framing their evolving security roles in the Asia-Pacific region, and how those individual perspectives intersect with each other. The article identifies a number of important common features in Europe’s approaches towards security in the Asia-Pacific, namely the tendency of most European actors to emphasize the economic and diplomatic nature of their contribution to regional security, their promotion of regional multilateral security fora, their rejection of the notion that China’s rise is inherently challenging for regional and global security, and their willingness to signal their differences towards Washington’s emphasis on military power and alliance-based approach. However, and despite the existence of common traits, individual European actors show different degrees of closeness vis-à-vis the US and China and feature different perspectives regarding which security relationships they should prioritize in the region (if any), or the appropriate balance between diplomacy and security and defence cooperation. Such divergences prevent Europeans from developing a coherent security profile in the region and preclude us from speaking of a distinctively European security approach towards the Asia-Pacific.


European Union Regional Security Territorial Dispute Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Security Cooperation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the editors, the anonymous reviewers and Michael Reiterer for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for European StudiesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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