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The impact of Myanmar on the EU-ASEAN relationship Presentation: EIAS 5 February 2013. Sanne Brasch Kristensen Institute for Society and Globalisation Roskilde University Email: sanneb@ruc.dk. The presentation . Why is Myanmar an issue for the EU & ASEAN? Myth:

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the impact of myanmar on the eu asean relationship presentation eias 5 february 2013

The impact of Myanmar on the EU-ASEAN relationshipPresentation: EIAS 5 February 2013

Sanne Brasch Kristensen

Institute for Society and Globalisation

Roskilde University

Email: sanneb@ruc.dk

the presentation
The presentation
  • Why is Myanmar an issue for the EU & ASEAN?
  • Myth:
    • “The EU does not really care about human rights in Myanmar – what matters is trade-relations with ASEAN”
  • EU-ASEAN political cooperation
  • EU-ASEAN and the FTA negotiations
  • Conclusion and outlook
    • Myanmar matters and might continue to do so.
the eu and myanmar
The EU and Myanmar
  • Myanmar is seen as a threat to human rights and democracy.
      • Aung San SuuKyi as the symbol of human rights violations
    • The EU applied restrictive measures on the government of Myanmar in 1997
      • Intention was to leave the population unharmed
    • EU’s identity is based on human rights and democracy
      • Therefore: Myanmar becomes a threat to the EU’s identity
asean and myanmar
ASEAN and Myanmar
  • Myanmar as a defense against China’s political and economic influence in the region
  • Sovereignty is fundamental to ASEAN
  • Constructive/enhanced engagement
    • ”we are not doing diplomacy through media”
    • ASEAN diplomat
  • Intervention in Myanmar would be a fundamental threat to sovereignty
    • De-stabilizing the whole region
political cooperation 1997 2010
Political Cooperation 1997-2010
  • 1997-2000 Cooperation blocked due to EU sanctions:
    • The EU: ”it is clear that the presence of the Burmese minister would run counter to the EU's common position of Burma that bans the issuing of visas to diplomats”
    • Mr. Robin Cook, quoted in European Daily Bulletin, 1999
    • ASEAN: ” ... We do not interfere (in Myanmar affairs) because we adhere to the Charter of the United Nations which forbids interference in other states”

-Philippine Ambassador, quoted in Business Time 1997

  • Rotterdam issue in 2005
political cooperation 1997 20101
Political cooperation1997-2010
  • Mutual Mistrust due to Myanmar:
  • ASEAN perception of the EU:
    • ”The EU lacks real commitment …just look at development aid paid to Myanmar “

- ASEAN-Officials

    • The sanctionist policy “made the EU total non-credible in the eyes of ASEAN”
    • EU-Official
  • EU perception of ASEAN policy
    • ” the ASEAN policy of non-interference is ‘just a camouflage to do just that – nothing” –
    • EU-Diplomat
political cooperation 2011 the change in the eu
Political cooperation 2011-The change in the EU
  • EU becomes committed
    • sanctions suspended 2012
    • Opens office in Yangon
    • Humanitarian and development aid improves
  • EU officials visit the region
    • “The remarkable transformation that is under way in Myanmar will further strengthen EU-ASEAN relations”

-Asthon, quoted in Investvine

    • “I believe ASEAN is playing a positive role by putting pressure on Myanmar to walk in the right direction”
    • De Gucht, quoted in Jakarta Post
political cooperation 2011
Political Cooperation 2011-
  • ASEAN’s rethorical change:
    • I hope that a long period of strained relations between ASEAN and the EU will be put behind us”
    • Dr Surin, Quoted in Jarkarta 2011
  • “ASEAN finally believes in the EU”
    • Due to the visit of Asthon
    • ASEAN official
a change in asean norms
A change in ASEAN norms?
  • ASEAN norm of non-interference supplemented in the Charter of 2008
    • Human rights and democracy officially a part of ASEAN norms
    • Non-interference still the dominating norm
    • “HR is important but you cannot be obsessed with it..development needs to be addressed before political issues” - ASEAN official
  • On a rhetorical level ASEAN became more critical of Myanmar
    • “... The Government of the Union of Myanmar, as a responsible member of ASEAN, had the responsibility to protect and promote human rights”

- Chairman’s statement, 2009

from mistrust to
From mistrust to ?
  • On a political level Myanmar did impact the EU-ASEAN relationship
  • A higher degree of trust after 2011:
  • Internal development in Myanmar allowed for different engagement by the EU
    • Now considered ‘real’ by ASEAN-countries
  • But – also a change in the ASEAN norms of non-interference and human right after 2008
    • More open critique of Myanmar
free trade agreement
Free Trade Agreement
  • Two stories in the EU on the issue of Myanmar and FTA:
    • Different levels of development in ASEAN-countries – it is not Myanmar per se.
      • Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia benefit from other agreements
      • ”Myanmar is present at EU-ASEAN business summits”

-EU-diplomat

    • Myanmar’s human rights and democracy norms a problem:
      • “…the political issue is obviously the rights atrocities in Myanmar”

-Karel de Gucht, quoted in Business Mirror

fta impact assessment
FTA – impact assessment

-TRADE07/C1/C01 – Lot 2

  • ASEAN could see its exports to the EU rise by 18.5% - and expect economic gains equivalent to 2% of its GDP by 2020. The EU could see its exports to ASEAN increase significantly - also increasing total EU global exports by almost 2%.

- Global Europe, Brussels 2008

fta asean perception
FTA – ASEAN perception
  • Myanmar is an obstacle to block-to-block FTA
    • What about the different levels of development internally in the EU?
      • ”No the real issue is Myanmar”

- ASEAN-official

    • ”Agreements need to be inclusive – we don’t want a restricted agreement with 9+1”
    • ASEAN-official
    • “The understanding is that we are talking to the EU as a group of 10 member countries, and Myanmar is a member of ASEAN”
    • ASEAN-official
    • A block-to-block FTA ”will depend on how Myanmar is progressing”

-ASEAN-official

conclussion
Conclussion
  • The myth is a myth… sort of
    • Politically Myanmar blocked for cooperation
    • Myanmar has been an obstacle a region-region to FTA
  • The myth had a huge impact on ASEAN-EU relationship
    • Creating mutual mistrust
  • Trust was built due to:
    • Change in the EU practices on Myanmar
    • AND in ASEAN attitude
outlook
Outlook
  • The issue of Myanmar in the EU-ASEAN relationship is not solved
    • The EU’s sanctions are only suspended
    • Asthon: fighting in Kachin State threatens peace process
    • “The high-representative is deeply concerned about the continues fighting in Kachin State, putting at risk the nation-wide peace process and the gains already made”
    • Statement 15.01.13
    • ASEAN has been very silent as a block
outlook continued
Outlook –continued
  • Region-to-region FTA negotiations is about to be started again in 2015
  • 2015: ASEAN Regional Economic Community to be launched
  • The EU will reconsider the issue of regional FTA
    • But it will also depend on the political situation in Myanmar
  • If the political issue is not solved the EU-ASEAN relationship might be affected once more