Building an ASEAN Community by 2015.: New Concepts for a Revival of the 'ASEAN Way' towards Regional Integration?

Coraline Goron

Since the Asian crisis and with renewed impetus since the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2008, ASEAN has proved to be a formidable source of conceptual creativity pertaining to regional integration. While clinging to ASEAN’s defining principle of non-interference, as expressed in the treaty of Amity and Cooperation and while maintaining a persisting aversion for any “Europe-like” transfer of national sovereignty to supranational entities, a new language, symbol of a renewed political rhetoric of integration, has emerged. Formulas, such as "visions", "roadmaps", "blueprints", "connectivity", "scorecards" and "soft regionalism" have served to keep a consensual narrative of a voluntary-based integration, while bringing a qualitative change to the initial 'ASEAN way' doctrine. Whereas neo-realists dismiss them as mere artifacts, aimed at maintaining the “delusion” of an Asian integration process, these new concepts and mechanisms, perhaps, encapsulate the dynamics necessary to fulfill the political commitments put forward by ASEAN leaders in the ASEAN Economic Blueprint, to turn ASEAN into a 'single market and production base' and a 'competitive region' but also the longer-term objective of promoting its centrality as a hub for regional integration in East Asia.

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This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.