This page was archived on October 2020.


Overall partnership

45 - Relations with other Asian partners

Grade: B-
Unity 4/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 6/10
Total 12/20

Although Europeans were less active in engaging with other Asian partners than with China, they strengthened trade relations with Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, and Vietnam. 

Europeans have tended to prioritise relations with China over those with other Asian countries, although that is slowly changing, especially on trade issues. In 2014, the EU was less active than other countries in building links with the new Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and no high-level meeting was held. There was also little progress in negotiations on an EU-India FTA. Overall, member states seemed less eager to develop ties with India than with China, although Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands made more efforts than most.

However, there was a breakthrough on Pakistan when, despite opposition from some MEPs, the EU granted it GSP+ status. This created a formal channel for the EU to engage Pakistan on human rights issues, which were an important area of concern for the EU this year. The EU also continued to engage Pakistan through its Five-Year Engagement Plan agreed in 2010 and held a number of high-level meetings. The EU remained Pakistan’s main trading partner and aid donor in 2014.

In 2014, Japan and Korea sought to engage actively with Europeans and, in particular, to encourage them to play a greater role in Asian security. Although European leaders were less active, some progress was made. In May, the EU and Korea signed a Framework Participation Agreement, which facilitated the involvement of South Korea in CSDP missions and operations. The EU also cooperated with Japan on a number of issues: it presented a joint resolution on human rights abuses in North Korea (see component 47), held a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, and held four rounds of negotiation on an FTA. The EU also strengthened relations with Vietnam as negotiations on an FTA continued. But despite these encouraging developments on trade liberalisation, Europeans struggled to engage Asian partners on climate change (see component 51) or to find a meaningful role in maritime disputes in Asia (see component 52).