Žaneta Ozoliņa, University of Latvia, MIME consortium member and leader of WP 6 is just back from a study trip to China, Vietnam and India, co-funded by MIME.
Aims of the study trip were to gather information on EU and Asia relations, to lecture on current issues of the EU, to introduce the European research project MIME, and to discuss human security topics, which compose part of the MIME’s WP6 content.
The trip was organized and co-funded by the Latvian Embassies in China and Vietnam, the FP7 project MIME and Jawarharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India).
Žaneta Ozoliņa's conclusions from the discussions:
In China, the EU as a regional player contributing to the welfare and stability in Europe is well understood and appreciated, but since China’s foreign and security policy is based on geopolitical constructions, the EU and its policy at the global level are not taken seriously. That leads to concerns about the future of Ukraine and Russia’s growing power ambitions.
The discussion with experts on EU affairs at the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences focused mostly on current EU affairs, covering topics related to euro crisis and policies to boost economic growth, ability to combine austerity measures with growth, institutional novelties, agenda of the new European Commission, diversification of European Parliament and many others. In the end the issue of crisis in Ukraine was touched upon as well and the position was very similar to China’s: The EU is the one to be blamed for an escalation of the crisis.
Discussions at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis in India (leading think-tank in the country providing advice to the Ministry of Defence) mostly focused on the crisis in Ukraine and how the countries of the Baltic Sea Region are responding to those challenges. Geopolitical thinking was prevailing in this institute as well. The EU is perceived as an economic entity which suddenly was brought into geopolitical competition and there was no place for one more player who in terms of power is weak, ideologically divided and lacking global ambitions.
Zaneta concludes that we all need to promote the EU globally. The way how we look at ourselves does not match the perceptions of others. The EU is treated as a small entity which suffers from crisis, does not have geopolitical vision and ambitions and is getting weaker and weaker...