The EU in Asia: Performing “actorness”?

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The EU has developed some unique modus operandi via several institutional refurbishments since the 1990s regarding the well-exposed changes in international system. One predominant pattern of action was proactive foreign and financial policy, which became a hot topic of International Relations and Economics. EU became more visible in almost every region. Then the question arises: could we develop a peculiar definition for EU’s post-Cold War proactivity? The literature came with two major concepts as an answer: intergovernmentalism and supranationalism. However, neither supranationalism nor intergovernmentalism able to explain every aspect of the EU-Asia relations. In that respect, instead of supranationalism and interregionalism, this paper aims to analyze the EU’s relations with Asia within the framework of the concept of “actorness” along its three key dimensions: presence, opportunity and capability. Since Asia is a very vast region compromising high level of diversities inside, I divide Asia into five different sub-regions as Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and last group including Australia and New Zealand. The further aim of this thesis is to add a new layer to the literature on the concept of actorness by empirically analyzing how the EU behaves rather than discussing what the EU is.

Keywords: Actorness, EU-Asia relations, EU external action

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Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University