Asia & the EU, The Ties That Bind

Asia and the EU have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. But as Asian economies grow and the EU’s stagnates, the EU is looking to refine its relationship with Asia. Why?  There are huge opportunities.

According to a recent report to the European Union Parliament, Asia, with roughly 60% of the world population accounts for 35% of the EU’s exports (€618bn) and 45% of the EU’s imports (€774bn). For both Europe and Asia, growing global interdependence is an opportunity for increased cooperation, for peaceful political cooperation, fair and stronger economic relations, comprehensive societal dialogue and collaboration on international and regional security.

Europe and Asia, together, can be the engines of a more cooperative approach to world politics, global stability and regional economic prosperity.

To make a further step change in that cooperation and to unlock opportunities within the global economy, the EU and Asia should ensure an efficient and sustainable connectivity.

Connectivity contributes to economic growth and jobs, global competitiveness and trade, and people, goods and services to move across and between Asia and the EU. Some estimate that Asia will require over 1.3 trillion EUR a year of infrastructure investment in the coming decades to maintain today’s growth rates and to adapt to climate change. By comparison, in the EU, the investment in the Trans-European network for transport is estimated to require 1.5 trillion EUR in the period 2021-2030.

EU Strategy

The EU strategy on connecting Europe and Asia is designed around the principles of sustainable, comprehensive and international rules-based connectivity. Through this approach, the EU believes they will enhance regulatory quality and level the playing field of connectivity, drawing inspiration from its internal market. It will contribute to the development of transport, energy and digital networks, on the basis of its experience with cross-border connectivity. It will seek to strengthen its partnerships withthird countries, regions and international organisations. It will increase cooperation in education, research, innovation, culture, sport and tourism, helping to promote diversity and the free flow of ideas. 

However the EU and Asia redefine their trade agreements in the years ahead one thing is clear, better economic, political and cultural ties will benefit both Asians and Europeans.