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Encouraging security cooperation at the forum? The EU’s efforts at ARF vis-à-vis Myanmar via ASEAN: 2004-2008

Marchi, Ludovica (2015) Encouraging security cooperation at the forum? The EU’s efforts at ARF vis-à-vis Myanmar via ASEAN: 2004-2008. . The London School of Economics and Political Science, Centre for International Studies, London, UK.

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This is an empirical investigation. At the beginning of 2014, for the first time, the European Union co-chaired meetings with Myanmar, which it hosted in Brussels within the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) of which Myanmar has been part since 2004. ARF is the ‘only multilateral political and security dialogue forum in the AsiaPacific where the EU has its own seat’ (EEAS). For this reason and because the European Union is not a major actor in the region in terms of security affairs (Stumbaun 2014, 111), the EU holds a specific interest in ARF. At the meetings in Brussels, it was planned to discuss ‘various aspects of security cooperation in Asia’, including ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster relief’ (EIAS 2014). These, and other events, suggested that a Myanmar-EU security connection exists and motivated the interest in tracing the EU’s efforts, in the ARF arena, to encouraging Myanmar to tie in with the security link. This paper, therefore, focuses on two research questions: how has the European Union interacted with Myanmar via ASEAN, at the Forum, trying (directly or indirectly) to induce Myanmar’s junta towards connecting with cooperation in the area of security, as opposed to its preferred ‘non-interference policy’? Since the dialogue and many of the training activities in the ARF framework concerned crisis management and disaster relief capacity building, Cyclone Nargis, which hit Myanmar in 2008, is taken as a test case to explore whether Myanmar and ASEAN’s reactions to the devastation caused certain processes to emerge which can be linked to the EU. The second question is: as the EU sought to convince Myanmar to compromise and accept cooperation, has Myanmar hit by Cyclone Nargis caused some consequences on the EU and its security policy, and, if so, how? Interpretations borrowed from March and Olsen (1995, 1998, 2004) and Checkel (1999, 2005) will contribute towards answering the two key questions. The EU’s quest to encourage security cooperation is investigated in light of the ARF meetings that it co-chaired with ASEAN during 2004-2008. The first date is justified by Myanmar being admitted to ARF and the second by Cyclone Nargis afflicting Myanmar. Lacking access to the informal minutes of these meetings, interviews on motivation will serve to compensate for the limited sources which are the ARF co-chairs’ summary reports. Official declarations by the Commission, the Council and the EU together with ASEAN will indicate the EU’s ‘intentional policies’ at the Forum level. The investigation includes no specific focus on the Forum itself in terms of assessing its operation, on the domestic level of analysis, on the decision-making processes, nor on the participants in the ASEAN Regional Forum who were different from the ASEAN group, Myanmar and the EU. It offers no hint at other frameworks of security consultation in Asia in which the EU might be involved, and pays no attention either to whether Myanmar was somehow connected with cooperation in the area of security, or to the EU’s efforts to encourage Myanmar to compromise, both up to the current position.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Centre for International Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2016 10:10
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2020 02:58

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