1 Pathways to Legitimacy? The Future of Global and Regional Governance CSGR/GARNET Conference University of Warwick, 17-19 September 2007 Bart Gaens and Juha Jokela Network for European Studies University of Helsinki Interregional relations and legitimacy in global governance: The case of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) DRAFT PAPER – Not for quotation; comments welcome The European Union (EU) occupies a central position in contemporary discussions of global governance and legitimacy. To some, the EU constitutes a model for, or a benchmark case of, the institution-building related to processes of regionalisation and/or globalisation. Others have granted it a sui generis status and emphasised its distinct features in comparison to other regional and global organisations. Given the variation in approaches, analysts (and policymakers) seem to agree that the EU is not a state or a traditional international organisation. Accordingly, it is difficult to capture its legitimacy within the conventional state-centric approaches to politics and world politics. This makes the EU a particularly interesting topic for the analysis of legitimacy and regional and global governance. A recent and related development is the emergence of interregional relations. Relations among different regions of the world based on formal or informal arrangements between regional groupings, gears our attention towards legitimacy of the EU and other regional actors in the global context. The EU’s legitimacy debate has two interrelated dimensions. First, and foremost, questions related to EU’s internal legitimacy – the democratic control over the EU’s supranational institutions – constitutes one of the key political and analytical debates of the European integration process. Second, the EU’s increasing role in world politics has highlighted the external dimension of the EU’s legitimacy. Arguably and partly due to its internal developments related to its legitimacy, the EU has been often seen as a way to make regulation beyond the state more legitimate. On the other hand, and internally, the legitimacy of the EU as an international actor has been questioned. The general aim of this paper is to explore how the debate on legitimacy within the EU impacts its external relations, and to what extent these relations feed back into the EU’s internal developments and legitimacy debate. The paper will first identify and discuss sources of legitimacy in the EU’s legitimacy debate. The text will subsequently examine the AsiaEurope Meeting (ASEM), a top-level yet informal dialogue forum created in 1996 with a view to advancing interregional rapprochement between Europe and Asia in the political, economic and cultural fields. Instead of measuring legitimacy, the paper’s purpose is to evaluate how the EU’s legitimacy debates have been reflected in ASEM process. This will be done by discussing three key sources of legitimacy present in the EU debates in relation to ASEM, namely (i) democratic control; (ii) performance and (iii) identity. The impact of ASEM on the EU is also addressed. 2 1. Legitimacy and the EU governance The starting point of any analysis of legitimacy […] has to be an acknowledgement of its complexity, and of the full range of factors – rules, normative beliefs, actions and procedures – that contribute to making political authority rightful (Beetham and Lord 1998: 5). In this section we will discuss the concept of legitimacy in relation to the EU and its external relations. We will take the work of Beetham and Lord (1998) and Lord (2005) as our starting point. We will limit our discussion to liberal democratic notions of legitimacy, in which ideas of rightful authority are closely tied up to accountability. 1 Since such notion requires that ‘decisions can only be legitimate if they are made on behalf of the public…’ (Lord 2005; see also, Beetham and Lord 1998: 6). In our analysis, legitimacy will be approached by three key aspects: (i) the acquisition and exercise of power according to democratic values, (ii) the performance of the system of governance and (iii) popular identification with the system (Beetham 1991, see also Lord 2005: 114). Institutions can be said to be legitimate when their right to make collectively binding decisions is acknowledged by their policy addressees (Lord 2005: 113). As the EU institutions have acquired a more authoritative and autonomous role, their legitimacy has been subject to an intense political and analytical debate. Most noticeably, analysts and policy-makers have suggested that there exists a “legitimacy crisis” or a “legitimacy deficit” in the EU. These arguments build on an argued lack of democratic control mechanisms over the EU institutions (the so-called “democratic deficit” argument) and a general lack of public support for the EU and its institutions (see Burgess 2002: 468). These quintessentially normative concerns relate to the politico-moral principles underpinning western political though. Accordingly, the debate on EU’s development and legitimacy largely draws from liberal democratic ideas of legitimacy. The EU’s increasing importance in world politics and its distinct features as an international actor – it is not a state and not an international organisation – has also geared scholarly attention to the EU’s legitimacy as an international actor. As Vogt suggests, Europe – the EU, its member states, as well as other European states and regional organisations – constitutes a very powerful actor in this process [globalisation]. The legitimacy and therefore the influence of this actor in the eyes of the others, as well as European citizens themselves, is dependent on the nature of its international activities and the values that inform them. (Vogt 2006: 5) For many, and partly due to the internal legitimacy debate, the EU has represented a pathway to legitimacy in regional and global governance. That is, although its legitimacy has been questioned, the surrounding debate as well as the proposed reforms to increase democratic control over its key institutions, has been seen as an exemplar of a way forward in promoting liberal democratic notions of legitimacy when it comes to regulation beyond the state. Consequently, scholars have been increasingly interested in examining justification of the EU’s external relations and its international actorness. These aspects have been addressed within explicitly normative frameworks (Lucarelli & Manners 2006; Meyers and Vogt 2006). Significantly, scholars have also highlighted the link between external and internal developments (Lucarelli & Manners 2006; Lord 2005). What, then, are the defining characteristics of the EU’s legitimacy, or, indeed, the suggested lack of it? 1 The liberal democratic notions of legitimacy can be, of course, contested and they are not necessarily accepted as such in Asian countries and regional institutions, for instance. However, this paper focuses on EU’s legitimacy and its contextually and culturally specific criteria. 3 1.1 Democratic control and accountability EU institutions’ legitimacy has been predominantly approached within an international organisation frame, in which the legitimacy is mostly derived from ideas of an international system based on sovereign states and international organisations constituted by the states. Accordingly, the legitimacy of an international organisation is based on the recognition of states and other legitimate actors. This type of legitimacy is often described as indirect in so far that the legitimacy of such organisations draw from its member states and their officials rather than directly from the people (Wallace 1993: 95-99). Accordingly, the EU institutions can be seen legitimate as long as they are controlled by the liberal democratic member states. 2 A constitutional view of legitimacy takes the central ideas of liberal democracy and accountability further and emphasises the EU’s state-like character. The constitutional approach highlights legal and procedural aspects of legitimacy. Here the delimitation of political authority – its scope, duration, mode of appointment and dismissal, et cetera – by means of a written constitution, which is enforced by independent courts, is central. Another crucial feature of the constitutional approach is the public as the only valid source of political authority. From this idea derives the principle of electoral authorisation of government, and the criteria of representation, accountability and so forth (Beetham and Lord 1998: 5-6). It is within these two approaches of legitimacy in the EU in which the arguments of a democratic deficit are mostly put forward. These arguments suggest that in several policy areas the member states have pooled and delegated their powers in and to EU’s supranational institutions. Consequently, political decisions are no longer made exclusively by national parliaments or governments legitimated through elections by their people, but increasingly ‘by Commission officials, by complex expert networks or by ministers negotiating complex deals behind closed doors’ (Wagner 2007: 1). Because the decision-making procedures differ significantly in different policy fields, it is true that the legitimacy and accountability of the EU system is hard to decipher. Whereas in some areas such as the Common Market, the most autonomous EU institutions – namely the Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank – have a substantial role, in other fields, such as foreign policy and defence, the member states remain firmly in power. Due the increasing direct powers of the EU institutions as well as issues related to transparency in intergovernmental decision making, the EU’s legitimacy based on indirect democratic control of the member states, is rendered deeply suspect. Concurrently, calls for direct democratic control over the EU institutions have gained force. Also in the field of the EU’s external relations, the decision-making procedures differ significantly across matters as diverse as development aid, trade, international monetary, and environmental agreements, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Importantly, and until recently, EU’s external relations have largely avoided the questions and concerns raised in the democratic deficit debate. According to Wagner, for two reasons (2007: 1). First, due to the intergovernmental decisionmaking of the CFSP and ESDP, it has been argued that there is simply no democratic deficit Although the concept of legitimacy has a universal character, the normative bases of legitimacy of a state’s political system are diverse (Beetham and Lord 1998: 3-5). Accordingly, a state with an authoritarian regime can be viewed as a legitimate actor within the international organisation view. However, and in the EU context, a political system based on liberal democracy is one of the key requirements for membership. Hence the EU’s rightful authority as an international organisation is closely connected to the liberal democratic notions of legitimacy. 2 4 as in the fields where supranational institutions have a more autonomous role. Second, observers have noted that there is a long and eminent tradition to measure foreign, security and defence politics against a lower standard of democratic accountability in western democracies, because these “high politics” fields require a larger degree of secrecy, flexibility and special expertise than other policies. However, both claims can be seen flawed. First, the CFSP and ESDP have led to the transfer of state powers to the EU level because of the increasing institutional and political pressure to participate within these EU policies. This, in turn, opens up the question of democratic control over these policies (Wagner 2007: 1, 4-6). Second, it is a mistake to exaggerate the differences in the politics of legitimacy across external policies of the EU since if ‘the public does not make fine-grained distinctions between types of Union policy, it may be enough for a decision to be made in “Europe’s name” for it to be implicated in the Union’s legitimacy, even when member states retain high levels of control’ (Lord 2005: 118, emphasis added). Third, as Hanna Ojanen suggests, the EU developments represents an unforeseen possibility to “low-politicise” security and defence questions (Ojanen 2002). “Low-politicisation” would enable increasing transparency and enhance constitutional features of legitimacy such as direct democratic control and accountability. Furthermore, the number of legitimate actors or stakeholders in the policy process expands beyond the formal state or EU institutions and officials. Members representing business, civil society and media, for instance, are given more attention. 1.2 Performance As Maull suggests, political legitimacy for governmental actions can be established through success (1999: 5). In the EU context, this line of argument is clearly present in functionalist theories of European integration. In the early David Mitrany version of functionalism, the expert cooperation across borders to solve a growing set of common issues, would shift the loyalty of beneficiaries in favour of supranational institutions, thereby making cooperation even more efficient and beneficial (see Schmitter 2004: 56-57). More recently, the EU’s performance as a source of legitimacy has been particularly visible in debates related to economic globalisation. It has been argued that EU is better equipped to deal with the challenges of globalising era than its member states. Notably, this logic is increasingly adopted also other policy fields such as environment, energy, immigration and defence. Accordingly, claims that seek to legitimate EU’s external relations often explicitly build on the performance as a source of legitimacy. Lord notes that at least three reasons seem to be central in the claims suggesting that EU policies can achieve more than uncoordinated national policies (2005: 118). First, a decision to make international policy through the EU may offer benefits of scale. Second, there may be gains of removing inconsistencies between national policies in terms of avoiding duplication and bringing in stability. Third, the EU might provide added value by bringing different international policies within a same institutional decision-making structures, although the different institutional means are used in policy-making. For instance, security policy can be approached more easily broadly, when military and defence issues are brought together with trade and sustainable development issues in the coordination of EU’s external relations. Performance as a source of legitimacy is often linked to regionalisation and interregional regions more broadly. It is argued that these processes should provide states and individuals added value in relation to existing bi- and multilateral arrangements. EU’s and other regional actors’ performance is, however, deeply affected by their institutional set-up and member states political will. It is argued, for example, that the complex character of the EU’s decision-making procedures cancel out at least some of the gains from using them to 5 solve collective action problems in external policies (Lord 2005: 119). Whereas the so-called ‘expectations – capabilities gap’ identified by Hill (1993) has questioned the credibility of the CFSP, EU’s policy in WTO has been characterised by inconsistency and complex internal interest politics (Lord 2005: 119). Moreover, EU’s ability to deliver as the world’s largest development aid donor has been refuted. Accordingly, the institutional reforms of the EU are also related to the question of its performance. Although EU’s performance is closely related to its public support, its link with a so-called technocratic view of legitimacy is also important to note. This view suggests that the public good is better realised by professionals holding special knowledge or expertise than by elected politicians. Significantly, the key decision-makers’ autonomy from everyday politics has been seen as strength in economic and fiscal policies, for instance.3 Furthermore, as Beetham and Lord points out, it has been suggested that due to the type and character of the EU decision-making, it is most appropriate to be left for the professionals and experts. Relatedly, it has been argued that technocrats loyal to the EU can better serve the common good of all the people of the EU that nationally biased member state officials. (see, Beetham and Lord 1998: 16-19). Although many writers have highlighted the technocratic or processional impact in the European integration and EU decision-making process, the growth of professionalism and EU bureaucracy alone does not make EU institutions legitimate (Beetham and Lord 1998: 17). Indeed, quite the opposite. Many see the de-politicisation and strengthening of bureaucratic autonomy as a serious problem for electoral and parliamentary control over policy-making. 1.3 Identity The legitimacy debate is furthermore closely related to the identity of the EU in several ways. First, a degree of common identity (public identification with the EU and its institutions) is seen as a requirement to increase direct democratic control over the EU, which, in turn, would make it more accountable. Relatedly, the lack of identification (i.e. common identity) of the European public with the EU institutions – reflected, for instance, in the low turnout in European elections – is seen as hindering attempts to increase direct democratic control over EU institutions. Second, a common identity has considerable practical value as source of legitimacy. As Lord notes, any policy is likely to be interpreted legitimate when it is collectively viewed as “our” policy rather than a policy of “the other” imposed upon us (Lord 2005:119). Third, and crucially, the legitimacy of any institution or system of governance is, in the end, a question of identity. As Beetham and Lord argue (1998: 2), the authority and scope of EU institutions is a subject of considerable political controversy in many member states. This reflects very different political identities underpinning the conditions for effective and accountable governance.4 The deep divisions in the Constitutional Treaty reform serve as a good exemplar of the diversity of political identities in the EU context. 3 The autonomy of the European Central Bank from political control of the member states and even other EU institutions serves as an example of an institution with a global reach, which legitimacy draws from the technocratic frame. Significantly, these essentially normative concerns are also reflected in the “analytical disputes between political scientists: about what kind of political phenomenon the EU is, or is on the way to becoming; about whether there is a ‘legitimacy deficit’, and, if so, wherein it lies and how far it matters” (Beetham and Lord 1998: 2). 4 6 Questions of identity – the EU’s self-image and the degree of shared “we-feeling” in its external relations – have also been addressed in relation to the EU’s external relations and international actorness. Because the construction of identity/ies is closely tied to a set of clearly articulated shared norms and values, the analysis of EU’s international identity has explicitly addressed normative questions. These are often tied to the EU’s aim to expand liberal democracy beyond the boundaries of the EU, and the eastern enlargement is often pointed out as the example of this objective. Promoting democracy is not, however, a new phenomenon in the EU’s external relations. As Lucarelli notes, Francois Duchene’s wellknown image of the EC as a civilian power has been powerful since the 1970s. According to Duchene, the EC is an international actor that spreads civilian and democratic standards of governance on the basis of an ‘ethics of responsibility’ which is usually associated with home affairs (Duchene 1973 cited in Lucarelli 2006: 6). Duchene’s ideas run high in the current era of globalisation. It has been suggested that the disappearance of barriers between internal and external politics makes political decision-makers responsible for all those affected by their decisions (Habermas 1998) and the EU has been seen better equipped than others to assume such responsibility (Lucarelli 2006: 6). Consequently, the EU has been seen as a bench-mark case of, or model for, negotiating legitimacy in regional and global governance. On the other hand, the democratic features and accountability of the EU institutions in particular in the field of external relations have been put under closer scrutiny. The idea of the EU as a civilian power – in which EU’s identity is often constructed in opposition to a military power – have been developed further by Ian Manners (2002). He proposes a collective identity for the EU as a ‘normative power’. For Manners, EU’s international identity is based on three elements: (i) its origins in an explicit rejection of nationalism; (ii) its unique character as a “hybrid polity”; and (iii) the development of a key set of values clearly articulated in successive Treaties (Bretherton & Vogler 2006: 42; see also Manners 2002: 240). Manners also identifies five core values – peace, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights – and four subsidiary values – social solidarity, anti-discrimination, sustainable development and good governance – as contributing to EU’s international identity. ‘It is in projecting these values, and in promoting the establishment of related norms for the governance of international behaviour, the EU might be said to exercise normative power’ (Bretherton & Vogler 2006: 42). The EU’s legitimacy as a normative power has been linked to its ability to perform external policies and enhance its core values regionally and globally. Lucarelli and Manners suggest that ‘The EU experiences legitimacy and credibility crises when the Union does not perform the foreign policy its member states and citizens expect it to perform’ (Lucarelli and Manners 2006: 211). They argue that in these cases, regardless of the complexity of the EU foreign policy decision-making system, any inaction which implies stepping back from the EU’s proclaimed principles and values is often perceived as representing a challenge to the EU’s identity and legitimacy. Thus the rapid development of EU’s military capabilities particularly in crisis management can be seen to complement rather than undermine EU’s identity as a normative power. Authors focusing on the EU external identity and participation in world politics have also highlighted the impact of the external dimension on the EU’s internal developments such as its internal legitimacy and democratic control. For instance, Lucarelli and Manners argue that ‘two huge current challenges to the EU – connecting the Union to its citizens and developing its international presence – are deeply interlinked’ (Lucarelli and Manners 2006: 211). That is, the EU’s internal identity and its legitimacy are partially constituted by its external policies and participation in world politics. Accordingly, it is analytically interesting to 7 examine how this participation feeds back into EU politics and policies, and the EU’s (internal) identity, which is closely related to the debate over its legitimacy. In terms of liberal democratic notions of legitimacy consequences can be positive or negative. 1.4 Interregional relations As the foreign policy and external role of the European Union have increasingly become the focus of academic research, at present particular attention is paid to the relations with other regions in the context of “new interregionalism”, or the interlinkage of regions as distinct actors ‘with a distinct identity, actor capability, legitimacy, and structure of decision-making’ (Hettne 1997: 228). Policy-makers, state and non-state actors, as well as academics are engaged in a debate on the weight of interregional relations within global governance, on their importance for the EU as a global actor, and on the role of values and identities for regional community-building processes. Accordingly, interregionalism constitutes a particularly fruitful field to address questions related to legitimacy and regional and global governance. In addition, interregional constructions often include non-state actors from civil society or the private sector, leading to “transregionalism”.5 As such interregionalism also relates to transparency or openness to its deliberative procedures, as well as to the democratic credentials or accountability of institutions with policy-making and shaping ambitions. Against this background the position of the East Asian region is of special interest. The importance of Asia is widely acknowledged in the regional strategy papers of the EU and its member states. “Asia” is seen as “a crucial partner for the EU, whether economically, politically or culturally” (European Commission External Relations 2003). Asia’s demographic size, economic rise, political and security environment, and delicate regional power balance present opportunities and interests, but also contain risks and threats for Europe. The general perception appears to be that the EU is as yet not as engaged in the region as it should be. As a recent Belgian policy note for Asia (Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs of Belgium 2006) pointed out, the general feeling is that the EU has not succeeded in taking full advantage of the potential of relations with Asia. Furthermore, the foreign and security policy for Asia is seen as lacking coherence and focus, not in the least because the region, in the words of one MEP, is regarded as “a powder keg from a security point of view, a baby elephant economically speaking and mainly a source of concern from the point of view of human rights”. This lack of perceived success or failure to implement a comprehensive strategy for Asia is also entrenched in the legitimacy debate, as it relates to the three key sources of legitimacy outline above. 2. Methodological framework and research design The methodological framework of this article builds on interregionalism and new institutionalism. Interregionalism represents the interaction of one region with another. Interregionalism is often seen as a ‘double regional project’. That is, it responds to the need to pool an ever greater amount of resources in the face of other regional and global dynamics On the other hand, it has been understood as a process of increasing regionalisation, in which the existing regions produce the formation of new ones (Gilson 2005: 309; see also Hettne et. Aggarwal and Fogarty (2004, 5) have applied the term “transregionalism” to denote a more diffuse type of interregionalism, such as cross-regional agreements whereby neither of the two regions acts as a grouping (for example, APEC). The authors distinguish two other types of interregional constructions: pure interregionalism (two formally organized counterpart regions) and hybrid interregionalism (one customs union interacting with a set of countries that is not a formally organized grouping). 5 8 al. 1999). Accordingly, interregionalism is linked to global governance (and its impact on global and regional processes can be positive and negative). The ways to comprehend the distinctness of a region-to-region framework are increasingly attracting scholarly attention. Whereas some have favoured a broadly institutional approaches and/or policy analysis (Rüland 2005), others have highlighted questions related to identity such as position of “self and “other” (Gilson 2005). Latter are closely related to constructivist and poststructuralist understanding of foreign policy. Methodologically this article will combine both. The interest in institutions in relation interregionalism and legitimacy emerge from the need to understand construction of institutions and their limitations and opportunities in ASEM process. In line with new institutionalism, we define institutions as an established and persistent pattern of behaviour (Goodin 1996: 21). Moreover, institution is social and constructed through social interaction (Checkel 2001: 52). In addition to formal political structures and organisations, institutions comprise rules, informal structures, norms, beliefs and values, routines and conventions, and ideas about institutions (Peters 1999). Significantly, the values and principles underpinning the institutions are closely interrelated – or perhaps more correctly interwoven – with the identity of the regional actors. Thus, a broad focus on institutions is useful when analysing legitimacy in interregional relations. Moreover, and as suggest notions of legitimacy are normative and closely related to the identity of the actor which legitimacy we are addressing. Instead of measuring legitimacy, this article attempts to evaluate how EU’s legitimacy debates have been reflected in ASEM process. The empirical analysis is based on assessment of cooperation frameworks, strategy papers, external relations communication, and documents and speeches related to ASEM. 3. The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) The creation of ASEM’s was above all symbolically important. The inaugural summit in Bangkok, held in March 1996, signified for many the highly promising start of an interregional partnership between equals, based in the first place on economic interests. More specifically for the EU, ASEM offered a very broad and wide-ranging policy instrument to contribute to the implementation of an equally comprehensive Asia Strategy. ASEM emerged as a novel but, importantly, not an exclusive instrument to achieve this aim of strengthening dialogue and cooperation with Asia. For the EU, ASEM offered a comprehensive, multidimensional and multilevel framework which could effectively complement and support the existing bilateral and regional co-operation agreements, while simultaneously streamlining and enhancing multilateral cooperation. Moreover, it could allow interaction and dialogue to be expanded thematically to the political and social/cultural fields, and to promote the construction of a loosely defined “Asia” as a region. 6 Until 2006 ASEM encompassed the member states of the EU and the European Commission, and the ASEAN countries in The term “Asia” as it is used in the EU context has shown a high degree of fluidity. The New Asia Strategy (1994) had made a distinction between the eight countries of East Asia, ten countries of Southeast Asia, and eight countries of South Asia, but was heavily focused on the booming economies of Southeast Asia and Japan. The revised Asia Strategy of 2001 on the other hand, took a much broader approach and illustrated the increased emphasis on Asian diversity and heterogeneity. The document also included Australasia in the definition of Asia, and targeted “the countries stretching from Afghanistan in the west to Japan in the east, and from China in the north to New-Zealand in the south, plus all points in between” (European Commission 2001). The “Asia” that functions as the EU’s counterpart within ASEM can more narrowly be defined as East Asia, now comprising countries from South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia. India and Pakistan are part of the Northeast Asian coordination mechanism. Central Asia however has always been dealt with separately. 6 9 addition to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The decision to enlarge ASEM to a partnership of 45 members by including India, Pakistan, Mongolia and the ASEAN Secretariat was certainly the most striking outcome of the ASEM6 Summit held in Helsinki in September 2006. The ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hamburg (28-29 May 2007) for the first time gathered 43 partner states, as well as the EU External Relations Commissioner, the EU’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and the Secretary-General of ASEAN.7 ASEM was a Singaporean initiative, and one of its further underlying motivations was to rekindle the troubled relation between the EU and ASEAN, which has been regarded as the origin of interregional group-to-group interaction (the first ASEAN-EC9 ministerial conference took place in 1978, Regelsberger 1990, 5). ASEM, on the other hand, is seen as a prime example of a new type of interregional relations. “New interregionalism” emerged in the 1990s as a post-Cold War product, and appears in a great variety of guises. In the typology developed by Hänggi (2006), interregional relations in the broad sense includes interaction between two regional organizations (for example, EU-ASEAN), but can also refer to relationships between a regional organization and a much looser affiliated group (for example, EU-Asian ASEM), between a regional organization or group and a third country (for example, EU-China), between two regional groupings (for example, “East Asia” and “Latin America” in FEALAC), or between states, groups of states and regional organizations from more than two regions (for example, APEC). Interregionalism is often not limited to trade and economy but also includes political and security dialogue as well as cultural interaction. Even though the EU functions as the hub of a large number of interregional arrangements, other regions as well have instigated interregional dialogues and thereby gained in “actorness” (Söderbaum and Van Langenhove 2005, 251). 3.1 ASEM and democratic accountability ASEM was devised as a process of informal dialogue with a focus on consensus and nonbinding agreements, rather than as an international organization or a negotiation/cooperation framework with a focus on agendas and procedures. ASEM’s informal approach and its dialogue-behind-closed-doors allow it to address areas which are thought of as “sensitive”, facilitating a deeper awareness of “mutual” positions and constraints and leading to smoothened interaction in other fora (Santer, 1998). At the same time however it is clear that this focus “on the participating personalities and their mutual understanding rather than on agendas and procedures” (European Parliament - Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy 1999) complicates transparency and evokes questions related to accountability. In the words of Rüland (2001: 28), the ASEM dialogue receives very little feedback by and from the grassroots represented by national parliaments or civil society. The utter lack of democratic transparency therefore undermines the legitimacy of inter- and transregional fora such as ASEM. The following sections will examine transparency and accountability within ASEM from a two-fold perspective, relating to (a) governance and (b) stakeholder involvement. 3.1.1 Governance accountability and ASEM’s “missing democratic dimension” According to Teija Tiilikainen (2008), ASEM as one instrument in the overall EU-Asia relations assumes an increasingly rare position in comparison to other structures of 7 The formal celebration of accession will only take place at the next summit in China in 2008. 10 interregional cooperation, when seen in the light of the EU’s continuous process of integration. ASEM can be labelled a region-to-region intergovernmental structure. The ASEM process places prime emphasis on a state-to-state approach, and intergovernmental initiatives form the core of the cooperation. At the same time ASEM constitutes at least partly an interregional dialogue. It takes the existence of distinct “Asian” and “European” regions as a starting point, and also policy coordination and caucuses ahead of summits and meetings take place on a regional basis. ASEM’s ambiguous character is obvious in the fact that the EU is represented by the sum of the member states, not through collective representation by the European Community as such (normally representing the union in formal external relations). Also the role of the European Commission is different, as it participates as an independent actor rather than in its capacity of representative of Pillar I matters relating to trade and development. Nonetheless, the EU members’ policies are bound by the common positions according to the provisions of the CFSP. The exclusion of the direct control of the European Parliament is one element which in particular highlights ASEM’s position within the EU’s External Relations (Tiilikainen 2008). As cooperation in ASEM is based on “peer pressure and a sense of legal obligation” (Forster 1999, 754) rather than legal means, the approval for collective agreements by the European Parliament is not needed, thereby effectively sidelining the EP. Nevertheless, the European Parliament aims to exert influence on the ASEM process by debating ASEM-related documents issued by the European Commission and by analyzing summit conclusions. The European Parliament has in the first place called for “a clear role” in the ASEM process, which provides for involvement in negotiations and discussions, and consultation on their results (European Parliament 1998, 2000, 2001), as it regards parliamentary cooperation as the cornerstone of political dialogue (European Parliament - Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy 2001). Second, the EP has aimed to promote the establishment of a Social Forum which could address the negative impact of globalization, and has supported a stronger civil society dialogue. A resolution from 2001 (European Parliament 2001) for example emphasized that “the main aim to be pursued under the political "pillar" must be to invest the ASEM with the democratic dimension that is missing at present, by ensuring that the process is transparent, by opening it up to participation by elected assemblies and by taking full account of the demands of civil society”, while calling for a social forum to be set up in which such demands can be freely expressed. In the third place, as an active advocate for human rights, democracy and rule of law, the EP has called for clear commitments to these principles in the ASEM dialogue, and has also demanded the exclusion of any state that does not respect these. Parliaments from Asian and European countries have sought to enhance their participation by creating their own network, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership or ASEP in the sidelines of ASEM. The Asian and European parliaments have organized parallel meetings with the ASEM summits on four occasions.8 They have grown into a recognized player in the wider Asia-Europe interaction, even though their role and impact on ASEM has remained limited. Until ASEM6 in Helsinki for example, ASEP was not even allowed to provide direct input to the summit. The fact that the Helsinki Summit provided the chance for the ASEP chairman to directly address the summit, is a sign of the increased recognition of rightful parliamentary involvement. 8 ASEP meetings have been held in Strasbourg (1996), Manila (2002), Hue (2004) and Helsinki (2006). 11 Also the holding of the first ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference, held in Potsdam prior to the Helsinki Summit, was the crystallization of this increased emphasis on the social dimension of globalization by the EP and the trade unions. The social consequences of economic growth came to the fore as an issue for discussion already at ASEM4 in Copenhagen. The issue was brought up again at ASEM5, where the ministers of ASEM countries were tasked with developing cooperation in social development, labour and employment, education and training, public health and environment. ASEM6 constituted an important first step towards the realization of a social dimension in the Asia-Europe dialogue. Given the nature of the interregional dialogue, parliamentary involvement in ASEM remains limited. However, the EP does have more influence on pillar I (trade and development related) issues. Recently the Parliament opposed the channelling of funds to ASEM in order to support regional integration through an ASEM Dialogue Facility, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and the Trans-Eurasia information Network (TEIN3). The European Parliament (2007) argued that these initiatives aiming to enhance “regional integration” as they were not primarily geared toward the eradication of poverty. In particular the EP criticized ASEF’s stated objective to “facilitate dissemination of information and sharing of resources and to enhance public awareness of ASEM/ASEF” as being incompatible with the main objective of the legal instrument for development cooperation with third countries (the Development Cooperation Instrument, DCI). The parliament thereby acknowledges ASEM primarily an intergovernmental forum, and has also supported the creation of a secretariat (and de facto transforming ASEM into a quasi-international organization). 3.1.2 Stakeholder accountability ASEM started out as a highly exclusive dialogue forum of informal nature. The ASEM summits were seen as high-level gatherings bringing together the Heads of State or Government in Asia and Europe. Even though the main aim was to get to know each other and increase mutual awareness, the input of ideas and initiatives would mainly flow from top to bottom or horizontally, but not from bottom to top. While contacts at all levels were deemed important, civil society was not acknowledged as an active actor and contributor to the top, official level. The Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000 encouraged dialogue between the peoples of the two regions and among all sectors of society and identified civil society as a “prime actor” in the process, together with the government and business community. This signified the first time that civil society was named as a key stakeholder. As pointed out by Higgott (2000, 41), ASEM includes an increasing number of actors with a heterogeneity of interests in a growing complexity of policy fields, who all endeavour to reach some form of policy consensus. The involvement of non-state actors and a bottom-up approach therefore seem vital elements at the core of ASEM, but not all of the stakeholders and actors involved in ASEM are directly linked to the process. In addition to Parliaments, also trade unions, NGOs and the different civil society actors only have indirect means of access to the official ASEM process at their disposal. This not only leads to lower visibility and awareness of ASEM in the partner countries, but also raises questions concerning accountability. 18.104.22.168 Business community In fact only business interests are formally represented as part of the process in the form of the Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF). The aim of the Asia-Europe Business Forum 12 (AEBF) was to promote private-sector activities, business-government links, and business partnerships through dialogue and exchange. The AEBF’s twofold approach of networking and idea-producing can certainly be evaluated as highly successful in the forum’s first years. At present however the active participation and interest of the business community in the ASEM process is waning due to the limited impact of AEBF recommendations. Nevertheless, the forum’s ambiguous and non-transparent nature continues to be the focus of debate. The AEBF is considered private sector, as it consists of business leaders and managers of transnational companies, in addition to government officials. Yet at the same time it functions as a fully integrated part of the formal ASEM structure, as the forum has a formal institutionalized role within key ASEM bodies such as the Senior Officials Meeting Of Trade and Investment (SOMTI) and the Investment Experts Groups (IEG). According to the critical view, large corporations active in AEBF promote a narrow, corporate agenda and have political power through their privileged status in the ASEM process and their tie-in with the government (see for example Hoedeman 2002). The European Commission’s active role in the AEBF and its view of the Forum as part of the Commission’s internal decision-making process, while at the same time considering it “a private sector body”, was also addressed in the European Parliament.9 22.214.171.124 Civil society Even though a wide-ranging dialogue between a growing number of stakeholder groups now takes place alongside the ASEM summit, not all stakeholder groups have acquired a formal channel to provide input and voice concerns. Some civil society groups have, however, independently, through their own activities and networking, striven to raise awareness of ASEM and the Asia-Europe dialogue. The Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the Asia-Europe Trade Forum, and the Asia-Europe Young Decision-makers Conference have all become part of the “wider Asia-Europe partnership”, yet these processes have developed outside the official ASEM and reach only a relatively limited number of people. The Asia-Europe people’s Forum (AEPF) brings together a large group of different civil society organizations ranging from small local activist groups to international NGOs. Despite the limited contacts with the official level, it is important to note that AEPF has succeeded in increasing horizontal networking between non-governmental organizations in Asia and Europe, both between the two regions as well as within them. For example, AEPF6 in Helsinki 2006 was the largest civil society event ever organized in Finland and it brought together many Finnish actors for the first time to cooperate at an international level. The Helsinki Summit and the efforts of the Finnish EU Presidency to facilitate civil society input do form an example of a successful impact by a European host nation on the ASEM agenda, increasing the expectations for ASEM7 to further enhance ASEM’s legitimacy. ASEM6 has sought to improve the grassroots-level feedback by providing better opportunities for the different stakeholder groups to channel their ideas and recommendations into the official process. Events bringing together the different groups were organized in parallel with or just prior to the Helsinki Summit. The [email protected] Symposium gathered business leaders, scholars, members of parliaments, and representatives of civil society groups and NGOs to debate the future of the ASEM process. In addition the AEPF held its own meeting, to which host country Finland contributed substantial financial resources. Furthermore the different groups had the opportunity to convey their recommendations and messages to the summit through more direct channels. Representatives of AEBF and, for the first time, ASEP addressed the 9 See the Written Question P-1959/01 to the Commission by Caroline Lucas in the European Parliament. Official Journal 364E, 20/12/2001 p. 0231-0231. 13 summit directly, and the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) as well as the Asia-Europe Young Decision-Makers Conference were allowed to address the Finnish host of ASEM6 and convey their opinions to the summit indirectly. The Helsinki Summit has arguably enhanced ASEM’s “human face” and made a contribution to narrowing the “demographic deficit”. While much remains to be done, this at least sets a new benchmark with the next summit in China in mind. 126.96.36.199 Media ASEM is a forum that aims to bring together the peoples of Asia and Europe, and relations with the general public, the largest group of stakeholders, is therefore of vital importance. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that while the summits attract a fair amount of attention, public awareness of ASEM’s raison d’être, goals and activities remains low. This lack of visibility is rooted in the first place in a highly limited media attention. European interest in Asia as a regional entity has remained limited in the first place because “Asia” is only emerging as a regional actor, whereas relations between the EU and individual Asian countries or ASEAN have achieved a much higher degree of acquaintance. In addition, national bilateral relations to Asian countries may be regarded as more interesting, and easier to cover than issues related to the complex entity of the EU. It goes without saying that the absence of the United States from ASEM is a major reason for lower media interest. It is furthermore obvious that ASEM’s basic approach of confidence-building and confidentiality a priori places a limit on the amount of public and media exposure. The agenda is very broad, and does not lead to negotiations or groundbreaking agreements. The “informal, open and frank” dialogue conducted behind closed doors does not yield any sensational news or stories. Discussion at the meetings has often remained superficial and the common statements have remained declaratory. In addition, the initiatives at the intergovernmental level either have a relatively low profile, or the ASEM partners themselves do not sufficiently advertise or sell these activities and projects to the media and public. All these factors do not render ASEM a very attractive topic in the eyes of the media, and only exacerbate ASEM’s image as an obscure and non-transparent forum. It goes without saying that media attention in the host country is greater due to the increased visibility, and the direct impact on the host city. Finland’s leading newspaper, the Helsingin Sanomat published no fewer than 75 articles directly related to the Helsinki summit between 28 August and 13 September 2006. Interestingly, the security measures in the run-up to the summit and the clash between the police and a relatively small number of anti-ASEM protesters attracted most media attention. The cordon imposed by the security forces, preventing the Smash ASEM! demonstration was a particularly hot topic and led to an extensive discussion on the use of force by the police.10. The media also focused on Human Rights, not only with respect to Burma/Myanmar but also to China, whose support for continued use of the death penalty and the restriction of freedom of speech were heavily criticized. ASEM furthermore provided fodder for stories on faits divers in the so-called “human interest” sphere, ranging from the culinary to the personal. Actual content-related articles that appeared in the Helsingin Sanomat before and during the summit were proportionally not that numerous. The outcomes of the summit were considered minor achievements (Helsingin Sanomat 12/09/2006) and only mentioned in passing. Only the 10 The Smash ASEM! gathering managed to attract 300 protesters on 9 September, supposedly taking their cue from the “news about peasants and sweatshop workers rioting all around China almost on a daily basis” and promising “music and action” (Smash ASEM! Pamphlet). 130 demonstrators were taken into custody, of which 86 will face trial over their participation in the riots. 14 agreement to cooperate on climate issues and the ASEM Declaration on Climate Change received attention. The fairly high number of articles on the side events and bilateral meetings such as the EU-South Korea and EU-China gatherings, also underscores the keener interest that other long-standing EU-Asia relations tend to generate (see Saltmarsh 2004: 2). Recently institutional endeavours have been made to make ASEM-related activities public and appeal to the media. The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) for example organized an Editors’ Roundtable, attended by approximately thirty editors and journalists, in the sidelines of the Helsinki Summit, and a series of Asia-Europe Journalists’ Seminars in order to raise awareness among Asian and European journalists. In addition the Helsinki Summit decided to implement a public communication strategy to disseminate results of summits, meetings and initiatives. And finally, a more focused agenda is also seen as a tool to affect visibility. A focus on relevant topics within clearly demarcated policy areas, for example climate change and energy security, should make ASEM more visible and “sellable” to the media. 3.2 Performance or output legitimacy As pointed out by Maull (1999, 5) political legitimacy for governmental actions can be established through success. If ASEM is successful in tackling “common challenges” such as climate change and the effects of globalization by formulating “joint responses” (as was the slogan for ASEM6), then the media or the electorate will not call the forum’s existence (and its utilization of considerable amounts of tax money for organizing the summit for example) into question. Output legitimacy therefore depends on institutional efficiency and effectiveness. Academic reviews of ASEM’s performance during its past decade often take a highly critical perspective. According to many scholarly analyses, ASEM has been unable to play any significant role in contributing to global governance (Maull and Okfen 2006), and at present is seen as a forum of decreasing importance (Camroux 2006). The principle of informality as well as the coexistence of two different cooperation cultures obstruct real progress in cooperation (Loewen 2007). ASEM’s performance is rated as “poor” (Roloff 2006, 18), as it has been unable to fulfill a rationalizing and agenda-setting role toward key multilateral processes such as the UN or the WTO (Dent 2005). As a result, arguments have been made for a bolder, more focused, institutionalized and democratic ASEM which could be developed into a “multilateral utility” (Rüland 2000; 2005). The criticism however, neglects to take into account that interregional cooperation has not yet turned into a key element of international relations. One of the earliest works on the phenomenon of interregionalism (Edwards and Regelsberger 1990) already pointed out that interregional relations fill the gap between traditional bilateralism and universalism. Seen as the EC/EU’s “natural answer” to managing global interdependence and a result of the EC/EU’s “internal logic”, interregional group-to-group relations have been regarded as a new and important diplomatic tool in the emerging multipolar system, and have even been referred to as a “landmark on the way to a new world order” (H.D. Genscher, quoted in Regelsberger 1990: 13). However, at present as well the overall evaluation has been that it offers additional means to manage international politics rather than functioning as a key element. Interregionalism stabilizes the network of international relations but does not replace bilateral or multilateral cooperation (Regelsberger 1990: 9-14). Also ASEM’s interregionalism merely aimed to function as a complementary instrument to existing multilateral and bilateral frameworks, setting the level of ambition relatively low and giving rise to the perceived awareness of low output. ASEM would serve as “a political 15 catalyst for achieving mutual understanding and enhanced awareness through dialogue”, rather than as a substitute for other bilateral and multilateral fora linking Asia and Europe (European Commission 1997). Given its informal character, ASEM, then, should be seen as a complementary tool to identify obstacles to market access and identify trade barriers in the bilateral arena, to discuss convergence on global trade and investment rules, or to facilitate negotiations in the WTO or the OECD. ASEM was in the first place seen as a facilitator of trade and investment, but also an intensification of high-level political dialogue was regarded as equally important, reflecting the European agenda for ASEM. Awareness had arisen that the European commerce-based opportunist approach to Asia had to be replaced by a more balanced strategic view also covering political and security issues (The Economist 02/03/1996). In the political arena, ASEM was expected to create a convergence of views on security and development issues and in the fight against poverty, disease and international crime (European Commission 1996). The EU therefore also aimed to enhance security and stability and balance the power relations by promoting interaction between the different actors in the region, in particular with the involvement of China in mind. As a non-military power, the EU could furthermore achieve results in the area of conflict prevention and “soft security”. Since 1996 ASEM has offered the EU one channel to strengthen its relations with Asian countries in order to pursue economic interests, conduct a dialogue on political and securityrelated issues, and foster the commitment of regional players to effective multilateral solutions. But has ASEM lived up to the expectations in the EU, and has it served as a useful instrument for implementing the strategy for the entire Asian region? It is obvious that ASEM’s impact has remained limited, simply because of its nature and character. While ASEM holds great potential in contributing to multilateralism and promoting soft-security approaches, it does not directly enhance the EU’s political presence in the region. Nor does ASEM dispose of the legally binding instruments to directly strengthen the EU’s economic presence in Asia. ASEM is not a forum for development cooperation that could address the root causes of poverty. Other multilateral and bilateral structures are much better placed to achieve clear results in these fields. It is therefore clear that, because of its present structure and approach, ASEM has had a limited impact in implementing the EU’s Asia strategy. For policymakers, however, ASEM’s value is uncontested. Interregional relations with the EU have promoted region-building in Asia. The process has bestowed a key role to the ASEAN grouping as regional integrator and stabilizer, while allowing the EU to present itself as a possible example of integration to emulate. ASEM allows the EU to conduct a constructive dialogue with Asian countries on human rights and good governance, and achieve results through intergovernmental or track-two initiatives. Furthermore, ASEM lays the groundwork for building alliances in order to address global challenges in result-oriented fora such as the UN, the EU-ASEAN framework or the ARF. 3.3 Identity The creation of the identity of self and other constitutes one of the core elements of a common European foreign policy (see Knodt and Princen 2003, 3). A common European is forged by juxtaposing “we Europeans” and “the others”, and by presenting “the others” anonymously as a challenge or threat. Regional blocks are described as separate cultural entities which, following the Huntington scenario, are hostile toward other “civilizations”. This depiction of regional bodies as compact civilizations, for example “Christian Europe” or an Asia with distinct “Asian values” is the result of a political exploitation of regionalism (Telo 2006, 124). Europe’s new recognition of Asia’s importance in the 1994 Asia Strategy 16 went hand in hand with the perception of a weak knowledge about Asia and a lack of cultural exchange. This absence of “mutual” awareness was regarded as an obstacle in developing a coherent foreign policy for the entire region. Throughout much of the 1990s, at least until the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998, the idea of a homogeneous yet different region was predominant. Prevailing European views on Asia were characterized by the tendency to regard the region as a cultural entity with distinct values, juxtaposing it with a “European civilization”. Asia as an entity was seen in the first place as a challenge or a threat. A European parliamentary document from 1997 on the relations between the EU and ASEAN offers a good example of this notion. For the EU to achieve progress in strengthening its economic position in Asia, one precondition had to be taken into account, namely that “Asia is not a region like others – neither in political nor in cultural terms – and that precisely for this reason a shared inspiration of civilization and cultural osmosis is lacking between Europe and Asia” (European Economic and Social Committee 1996, 2-3). The document thereafter explicitly refers to Huntington’s argument on the cultural causes of current and future conflicts between different “civilizations”, pointing out that “it is plausible to state that Asia provides one of the most probable scenarios for a clash of cultures”. Asian countries have undergone a cultural revival generated by economic growth “but this revival is rooted in a great cultural tradition specific to the region, different from and independent of western culture”. Asian countries advocate an “Asian model” based on particular values and cultural specificity different than the Euro-American one. In order to make political dialogue and economic cooperation succeed it is thus vital to increase knowledge of “European civilization” in Asia, both in terms of image as well as with regard to intellectual and artistic works. After the Asian Financial Crisis, however, the “Asian model” lost most of its credibility, and ethnic and religious conflict in the region enhanced views of Asia as highly diverse. The updated Asia Strategy of 2001, entitled “Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships” symbolizes the perception that there is no homogeneous Asian region with which to forge a single partnership. The document acknowledged “the sheer diversity of Asia, and the scale of the economic, political and cultural differences between and within the different constituent parts of the region as a whole” (European Commission 2001). Views of Asian diversity and lack of integration serve to reinforce the idea of Europe, defined as the European Union, as an integrated community and a model of regionalism. The EU believes that the European institutional model is a framework that can be exported and that it can have a positive influence on region-building in Asia. As the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy (1999) phrased it: It should be remembered that the ASEM Process is a cross-cultural exercise and that its participants on the Asian side are much more diverse than the European Union. It is, in fact, already an achievement that ASEM has brought all these countries together. In contrast to Europe, Asia has very few regional organisations and ASEM can be seen to play a constructive role in promoting dialogue in particular between China and its neighbours. In this context, the EU sees itself as an “external federator”, shaping regionalism through interregional contacts and contributing to local identity-building in a heterogeneous group of Asian countries (Rüland 2002, 8). Europe’s treatment of the East Asian region as a separate dialogue partner within ASEM has already forced the Asian ASEM partners to consult internally, coordinate on diverse and occasionally sensitive issues, and build consensus ahead of meetings with their European counterparts. The formation of the ASEAN Plus Three in 1997 can at least partially be seen as a result of that process, as interregional interaction with the EU has sharpened regional identities, and, according to Gilson (2004, 73), interregionalism has led to regionalism. In order to live up to the perceived need to become a 17 global actor, the EU applies the principle of interregional relations as the main vehicle to spread its own integration experiences in the world (see Söderbaum et al. 2005, 371). In the words of EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson (2005): Europe needs to build a stronger, more dynamic relationship both with the countries of Asia individually and bilaterally, but also with the Asian region. A stronger “Euro-Asian space” is not only desirable in itself – we are, after all, at either ends of the same land mass. But in spearheading this relationship in the twenty first century, the European Union can demonstrate that it is able to respond to a demand for “more Europe”, a demand I have heard with heartening clarity from many of my Asian interlocuters. From a European viewpoint, recent developments indicate that the EU has achieved some success in promoting its own integration experiences as a paradigm in Asia, in the first place through ASEAN. On the occasion of ASEAN’s fortieth anniversary the grouping’s Foreign Ministers proposed the celebration of 8 August as ASEAN Day, emulating the designation of 9 May as the EU’s Europe Day (Financial Times 03/08/2007). The EU provided assistance for the drafting of the ASEAN Charter in 2006 and 2007, after members of the Eminent Persons Group and the High Level Task Force in charge of drafting the document visited Brussels, Berlin and Nuremburg.11 A first, albeit modest, mini-constitution is expected to be signed in November 2007. The draft charter furthermore includes a provision for the creation of a Human Rights monitoring body for the region. This regional human rights mechanism is to promote and protect human rights, drawing inspiration from “international law on human rights, universally recognized human rights, and regional and national laws, policies and practices consistent with international law”12. Even though the international legal procedures for protecting human rights are still weak, ASEAN’s intention to create the Human Rights Commission reflects global developments such as the strengthening of the United Nations (see Sjursen 2003, 49) but can at least partly also be seen as a success for the EU as a normative power. At the same time the construction of a European self-identity has also affected the interregional dialogue. Meeting an “Asia” through ASEM promotes a shared “we-feeling” within the EU member states. As noted above, ASEM is a region-to-region intergovernmental construction with an ambivalent nature, balancing between a clear state-to-state and a regionto-region approach. On the one hand, it is clear that the Union certainly does not always present itself as a unitary actor.13 ASEM rather highlights the roles of the national governments, offering the different member states the opportunity to utilize the bilateral space in summits or other meetings to promote national interests. In addition, not all EU member states share the same level of interest in East Asia. For example, France, Germany and the UK place emphasis on the role of ASEM in Asia, in part because of their pre-existing bilateral interests in the region, whereas Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Greece tend to 11 See the Joint Statement of the 16th EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Nuremburg 15 March 2007. Draft agreement on the establishment of the ASEAN Human Rights Commission. 13 In 1996 France and the UK applied for individual membership, separate from that of the EU, of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), citing their status as nuclear powers as justification (European Voice 5/9/96). In 2000 before the Seoul ASEM3 Summit, the UK and Germany decided to establish diplomatic links with North Korea, which was strongly criticized by France and the European Commission (European Report 20/10/2000). The ASEM4 Summit in Copenhagen (2002) was marked by internal EU divisions over policies toward Iraq, with Spain, Italy and the UK strongly supporting the US policy, in contrast to France and Belgium (European Report 29/9/2002). Ahead of the ASEM5 Summit in Hanoi in 2004, the UK was leading calls to exclude Burma, whereas France argued that because Burma is part of ASEAN it would be difficult to exclude it. France expressed difficulties “to accept that the Union imposes obligations on its partners about their presence at summits” (European Voice 2/9/2004). At the same ASEM5 Summit China lobbied to lift the EU’s ban on selling weapons to China. France and Germany supported a review of the ban, whereas Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK criticized the plan to end the embargo (European Voice 7/10/2004; European report 18/4/2005). 12 18 prioritize human rights considerations or, on the whole, show little interest in ASEM at all (see also Forster 2000, 797). On the other hand, ASEM coordinates takes places along the lines of the general EU mechanisms. The EU and its member states thus claim exclusive representation of “Europe”, excluding states such as Switzerland and Norway from membership. The EU furthermore effectively insists on special treatment given its advanced integration process, requiring automatic membership of its new member states (see European Commission 1997; 2000). According to the ASEM rules for enlargement however, a candidate state should first receive the approval of the partners in its own region and only then can all the partners in consensus decide on its participation. This justified the European opposition against Burmese admission to the partnership. At the same time however it insists membership of the EU should automatically lead to participation in the ASEM partnership. Lastly, the construction of identity in external relations is closely related to a set of clearly articulated shared norms and values. “Soft diplomacy” and the export of important values and principles underlying the EU’s own integration such as rule of law, democratic institutions, and a respect for human rights are of particular salience in relations with Asia. These principles were made explicit in the 1973 Copenhagen declaration on “European identity” (Manners 2006, 34), and it was not until the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which came into force in 1993, that human rights and democratic principles were adopted as a key part of the EU’s external policies. The export of values which were deemed important to the EU, became the cornerstone of a new agenda after the Maastricht Treaty increased the EU’s political actorness. The growing influence of the European Parliament in particular led to “conditionality” and the respect for human rights to take centre stage, also in relations with ASEAN. Values of democracy, rule of law and Human Rights are now explicitly included in the cooperation dialogue. This has given rise to the inclusion of clauses related to these fields in so-called comprehensive, third-generation cooperation agreements with third countries. Since 1993 the European Commission has used the essential element provision as a standard tool in bilateral treaties (Reiterer 2006, 233). This clause was already included in the cooperation agreements with South-Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Future agreements with ASEAN should include an “essential element” clause (respect for fundamental human rights and democratic principles as laid down in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights), linking good governance and development cooperation. Despite being a forum for informal dialogue, ASEM has provided the EU with a test-case to “perform the foreign policy its citizens expect it to perform” (Lucarelli and Manners 2006: 211) and to stick to its proclaimed values and principles. All in all, the EU has made only minimal progress in promoting Asian commitment to international human rights tools. In the run-up to the ASEM5 Summit in Vietnam (2004) respect for human rights and the principle of non-intervention came to the fore with the controversy surrounding Burma/Myanmar’s joining of ASEM, after having become a member of ASEAN in 1997. Treatment of Burma/Myanmar engaged ASEM in membership crisis, and after the European Union cancelled two finance and economy ministerial meetings in July and September 2004, it was considered a major accomplishment that the Hanoi summit took place at all. Pressured by the Asian side, and hoping to achieve progress through constructive engagement, the EU has allowed a visa-ban exception to lower-ranking Burmese government representatives. Especially the EP has criticized the EU’s decision to allow Burma/Myanmar to participate in ASEM, albeit at a lower level. It accused the EU of taking half-hearted sanctions and letting the regime off the hook to secure the interests of a few member states. France, one of the driving forces behind Europe’s rapprochement with Asia on the basis of an interregional dialogue in the mid-19990s, has high business interests in Burma/Myanmar. France claims 19 credit for the strengthening of Euro-Asian ties, not only because of their important role in launching ASEM, but also for effectively projecting the “French” method of constructive engagement onto the EU stage, dealing with sensitive topics through informal and nonconfrontational dialogue-seeking (see Dorient 2002, 176-177). At the same time this has resulted in a heated debate on the lack of consistency in projecting “European” values through the EU’s foreign policy. The most recent summit in Helsinki, however, was marked by a moderate degree of success of the “constructive dialogue method” in increasing Asian regional pressure on Burma/Myanmar. After ten years the ASEM process seems to have developed into a dialogue which can, although slowly and in a limited way, raise even controversial themes on the agenda. At the same time however, the focus on Burma/Myanmar eclipses human rights violations in other ASEM member countries. NGOs for example incessantly urge the EU to address the human rights situation in China within the ASEM context. Yet, as the economic and political stakes are so much higher than in the case of Burma/Myanmar, this dialogue has been conducted separately through bilateral consultations. Conclusion This paper has suggested that the EU constitutes a particularly interesting topic for the analysis of legitimacy and regional and global governance. It is often argued to be more than a traditional international organisation, but less than a state. As such, it has potential to challenge the conventional understandings of legitimacy in politics and world politics. The emergence of interregional relations is often mentioned as a topical example. Relations among different regions of the world based on formal or informal arrangements between regional groupings, which include states but also other types of actors, gear our attention towards the legitimacy of the EU and other novel types of regional actors in the global context. Interestingly, and as the discussion on the EU’s legitimacy and the argued lack of it demonstrates, the EU debate largely takes place within the conventional views of legitimacy in western political tradition. In doing so, the sources of the EU’s legitimacy are closely linked to those of the liberal democratic state. The ideas of democratic control and accountability, performance and a degree of common identity are central in the debate. The general aim of this paper was to explore how the debate on legitimacy within the EU impacts its external relations, and to what extent these relations feed back into the EU’s internal developments and legitimacy debate. An analysis of three sources of legitimacy in relation to ASEM suggest, first, that cautious steps have been made towards narrowing the “demographic deficit” within interregional relations. The Asia-Europe Meeting as a prime example of “new interregionalism” combines elements of group-to-group as well as intergovernmental interaction. Policy coordination and caucuses ahead of summits and meetings take place on a regional basis, and intra-European coordination follows the normal EU channels, implying that EU members’ policies are bound by the common positions according to the provisions of the CFSP. At the same time however ASEM places prime emphasis on intergovernmental dialogue and joint initiatives. Mainly due to the absence of an integrated Asian regional partner, supranational EU institutions do not play a clear role in the process, and the EU is represented by the sum of the member states whereas the Commission takes up a coordinating and steering role, together with the Presidency. Cooperation is only based on peer pressure, and all ASEM initiatives are self-sponsored by member states without EU-budgetary implications. The European Parliament is excluded from direct control. Since ASEM’s inception, the European Parliament has demand “a clear role” in the process in order to fill in the process’s “missing democratic dimension”. In addition, the forum’s bias towards 20 economic interests and business is obvious in the position of the AEBF, which has a privileged, direct avenue for input in the process and forms a fully integrated part of the formal ASEM structure. Having said that, the most recent summit in Helsinki contributed towards increasing ASEM’s accountability vis-à-vis its stakeholder groups. The Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership obtained increased recognition of rightful parliamentary involvement in the process, and Civil Society representatives such as the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) held a successful parallel gathering and were allowed to convey their opinions to the summit indirectly. While efforts are being made to increase public awareness of ASEM, the appeal to the media and visibility among the public remains a challenge, in the first place due to the forum’s nature. Second, the same informal and consensus-building philosophy at the heart of ASEM also limits its performance. ASEM’s soft institutionalization prevents it from becoming an “efficient and effective” tool for global governance. It cannot be denied that ASEM has achieved some success in increasing the EU’s presence and performance in Asia in a number of fields, compared to the mid-1990s. Nevertheless, the new type of interregional relations as it arose in the 1990s is still in its infancy. Interregionalism only functions as an additional means to manage international relations, placing obvious limits to the leverage of “output performance” as a source of legitimacy. Thirdly, ASEM as a process of socialization has not only led to a higher degree of coordination and arguably a burgeoning community-building process among the Asian partners, but it has also allowed the EU to strengthen its selfidentity and cultivate a “we-feeling” through internal coordination and by presenting the EU’s own integration experiences as a paradigm for emulation in Southeast Asia. However, ASEM’s constructive engagement approach has led to allegations that the EU fails to pursue a consistent policy in promoting values and principles underlying its own integration such as a respect for human rights. At the same time, given the legacy of Europe-Asia relations, any other approach may have obstructed progress altogether. One of the EU’s main accomplishments through ASEM may indeed be that “Asia” has learned that “Europe” does not aim to “preach” but rather that it is willing to go through a constructive exchange of different perspectives and concerns. For the time being, then, interregional arrangements such as ASEM retain an ambiguous character from the perspective of legitimacy, functioning only as a complementary element within global governance. 21 Bibliography Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Fogarty Edward A. (2004), ‘Between regionalism and globalism: European Union Interregional Trade Strategies’, in Vinod K. Aggarwal and Edward A. Fogarty (eds), EU Trade Strategies. Between Regionalism and Globalism (New York: Palgrave). Beetham, David and Christopher Lord (1998) Legitimacy and the EU (Harlow: Longman). Bretherton. Charlotte and John Volger (2006) The European Union as a Global Actor, Second Edition (London: Routledge). Burgess, J. Peter (2002) ‘What’s so European about the European Union? Legitimay between Institution and Identity.’ In European Journal of Social Theory, 5(4): 467-481. Camroux, David (2006), ‘The Rise and Decline of the Asia-Europe Meeting: Asymmetric bilateralism and the limitations of interregionalism’, Cahiers Européens 3. Checkel, Jeffrey T. (2001) ‘Social Construction and European Integration.’ In Thomas Christiansen, Knud-Erik Jorgensen and Antje Wiener (eds.) The Social Construction of Europe (London: Sage). Dent, Christopher M. (2005), The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and Inter-regionalism: Towards a Theory of Multilateral Utility (Paper presented at the “Ten Years of ASEM” Conference, 14-15 September 2005, University of Helsinki). Dorient, René (2002), ‘Un Septenat de Politique Asiatique: Quel Bilan pour la France?’, Politique Étrangère 1. Edwards, Geoffrey and Regelsberger, Elfriede (eds) (1990), Europe’s Global Links. The European Community and Inter-regional Cooperation (New York: St. Martin’s Press). European Commission (1994), Towards a New Asia Strategy, COM(94) 314 final, Brussels (13 July 1994). European Commission (1996), ‘Declaration on behalf of the Commission by Mr Santer, Sir Leon Brittan and Mr Marín on the Euro-Asia Summit’, Bulletin EU 1/2-1996 (Asia 2/10). Adopted on 27 February 1996. European Commission (1997), Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM process (June 1997). European Commission (2000), Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process into the next decade, Commission Working Document (April 2000). European Commission (2001), Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships, COM(2001) 469 final. European Commission External Relations (2003), The EU’s Relations with Asia. http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/asia/index.htm European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) (1996), Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on Relations between the European Union and ASEAN. EXT/132 (1 February 1996). European Parliament (1998), Resolution on the ASEM Process (Europe-Asia Relations) Minutes of 12.03.1998 Final Edition. European Parliament (2000), Resolution on the third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 3) in Seoul, 20-21 October 2000, Minutes of 04/10/2000 - Final Edition. European Parliament (2001), Resolution on the Commission working document: Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process into the New Decade, Minutes of 13/06/2001 - Final Edition. European Parliament (2007), Resolution of 21 June 2007 on the draft Commission decision establishing a Regional Strategy Document 2007-2013 and a Multiannual Indicative Programme for Asia. Provisional edition. 22 European Parliament - Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy (1999), Report on the Commission working document on Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process A4-0197/99, Rapporteur: Salvatore Tatarella (20 April 1999). European Parliament - Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (2001), Report on the Commission working document: Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process into the New Decade, A5-0207/2001, Rapporteur: Elmar Brok (31 May 2001). Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs of Belgium (2006b), ‘Beleidsnota Azië’ [website] <http://www.diplomatie.be/nl/pdf/Beleidsnota%20Azie%20-%20NL.pdf> Forster, Anthony (2000), ‘Evaluating the EU-ASEM Relationship: a Negotiated Order Approach’, Journal of European Public Policy 7:5. Gaens, Bart (ed.) (2008, forthcoming), The Asia-Europe Meeting: a Decade of Interregional Dialogue (Aldershot: Ashgate). Gilson, Julie (2004), ‘Weaving a New Silk Road: Europe Meets Asia’, in Aggarwal, Vinod K. and Fogarty Edward A. (eds), EU Trade Strategies. Between Regionalism and Globalism (New York: Palgrave). Gilson, Julie (2005) ‘New Interregionalism? The EU and East Asia.’ In European Integration. Vol. 27(3): 307326. Goodin, Robert E. (1996) ‘Institutions and their Design.’ In Robert E. Goodin (ed.) The Theory of Institutional Design (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Hettne, Bjorn et al. (1999), Globalism and the New Regionalism (London: Macmillan). Higgott, Richard (2000), ‘ASEM and the evolving global order’, in Lee, Chong-wha (ed.) (2000), The Seoul 2000 Summit: The Way Ahead for the Asia-Europe Partnership (Seoul: The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy). Hoedeman, Oliver (2002), ‘Who Controls EU Trade and Investment’, TNI Asia Europe Crosspoints (September 2002). [website] <http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?page=reports_asia_crosspoints2> Hänggi, Heiner (2006), ‘Interregionalism as a Multifaceted Phenomenon. In Search of a Typology’, in Heiner Hänggi et al. (eds), Interregionalism and International Relations (London: Routledge). Knodt, Michèle and Princen, Sebastiaan (eds) (2003), Understanding the European Union’s external Relations (London: Routledge). Loewen, Howard (2007), ‘East Asia and Europe – partners in global politics?’, Asia Europe Journal 5, 23-31. Lord, Christopher (2005) ‘Accountable and Legimate? The EU’s International Role.’ In Christopher Hill and Michael Smith (eds.) International Relations and the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Lucarelli, Sonia (2006) ‘Introduction: Values, principles, identity and European Union foreign policy.’ In Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manner (eds.) Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (Abingdon: Routledge). Lucarelli, Sonia and Ian Manners (2006) ‘Conclusion: Valuing principles in European Union foreign policy.’ In Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manner (eds.) Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (Abingdon: Routledge). Manners, Ian (2002), ‘Normative Power Europe: a contradiction in terms.’ In Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 40(2): 235-58. 23 Manners, Ian (2006), ‘The constitutive nature of values, images and principles in the European Union’, in Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manner (eds.) Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (Abingdon: Routledge). Maull, Hanns (1999), Governance in the Age of Globalization: An ASEM Agenda. Written for the Council of Asia-Europe Cooperation (CAEC) Task Force on Perspectives for Asia-Europe Cooperation. Maull, Hanns W. and Ofken, Nuria (2006), ‘Comparing Interregionalism. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)’, in Hänggi, Heiner; Roloff, Ralf and Rüland, Jürgen (eds), Interregionalism and International Relations (London: Routledge). Peters, B. Guy (1996), ‘Political Institutions: Old and New’ in Robert E. Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingemann (eds.) A New Handbook of Political Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press) Regelsberger, Elfriede (1990), ‘The dialogue of the EC/Twelve with other regional groups: a new European identity in the international system?’, in Geoffrey Edwards and Elfriede Regelsberger (eds). Reiterer, Michael (2006), ‘Interregionalism as a New Diplomatic Tool: The EU and East Asia’, European Foreign Affairs Review 11, 223-243. Rolof, Ralf (2006), ‘Interregionalism in Theoretical Perspective. State of the Art’, in Hänggi, Heiner; Roloff, Ralf and Rüland, Jürgen (eds), Interregionalism and International Relations (London: Routledge). Rüland, Jürgen (2000), ‘Asia-Europe Cooperation - The ASEM Process: A European View’, in Magnus Jerneck and Ulrich Niemann (eds), Asia and Europe: Regional Cooperation in a Globalising World (Singapore: ASEF). Rüland, Jürgen (2001), ASEAN and the EU: A Bumpy Interregional Relationship. ZEI Discussion Paper C 95, Center for European Integration Studies, Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Rüland, Jürgen (2002), ‘ASEM and the Emerging System of Global Governance’, Paper prepared for the "Round Table: Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies”, April 4-7, 2002, Washington DC. Rüland, Jürgen (2005), ‘Interregionalism and the Crisis of Multilateralism: How to Keep the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Relevant.’ In European Foreign Affairs Review. Vol. 11: 45-62. Saltmarch, Matthew (2004), ‘EU-Asian relations in the Media. A Practitioner’s View’, Asia Europe Journal 2, 15-18. Santer, Jacques (1998), Asia and Europe: The road from Bangkok to London and beyond, Inaugural ASEF lecture, Singapore. Sjursen, Helene (2003), ‘Understanding the common foreign and security policu. Analytical building blocks’, in Knodt and Princen (eds). Schmitter, Philippe C. (2004), ‘Neo-Neofunctionalism.’ In Antje Wiener and Thomas Diez European Integration Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Söderbaum, Fredrik and Van Langenhove, Luk (2005), ‘Introduction: The EU as a global actor and the role of interregionalism’, European Integration 27, 3, 249-262. Söderbaum, Fredrik; Stålgren, Patrik; and Van Langenhove, Luk (2005), ‘The EU as a global actor and the dynamics of interregionalism: a comparative analysis’, European Integration 27, 3, 365-380. Telò, Mario (2006), Europe: A Civilian Power? European Union, Global Governance, World Order (Basingstoke: Palgrave). Tiilikainen, Teija (2008, forthcoming), ‘ASEM as Part of the European Union’s External Relations’, in Bart Gaens (ed.). 24 Vogt, Henri et al. (eds) (2006), The Making of the European Union: Foundations, Institutions and Future Trends (London: Edward Elgar). Wagner, Wolfgang (2007) ‘The Democratic Deficit in the EU’s Security and Defence Policy – Why Bother?’ In RECON Online Working Paper, 2007/10 [website] http://www.reconproject.eu/main.php/RECON_wp_0710.pdf?fileitem=4866332 Wallace, Helen (1993) ‘ Deepening and widening: problems of legimacy for the EC.’ In S. Garcia (ed.) European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy (London: Pinter).