The Role of EU External Action in the Waters of Southeast Asia. How to Upgrade Maritime Security Cooperation with ASEAN under Vietnam's 2020 Chairmanship?

Dominik Giese

GEM-STONES Policy Briefs. AGORA Forum, March 2020

Executive Summary

The European Union’s Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) declares the EU’s aims to become a ‘global security provider’ under the principles of ‘maritime multilateralism’ and ‘rules-based good governance at sea’. Here the EU foresees to upgrade its maritime security cooperation with other regional institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
But why has the EU so far failed to become integrated into important ASEAN-led maritime security governance mechanisms? How can the EU upgrade its maritime security cooperation with ASEAN?
This brief argues that a unique opportunity presents itself for the EU to upgrade maritime security cooperation with ASEAN under Vietnam’s 2020 Chairmanship to: (1) secure a seat at the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus; (2) act in line with EU external action principles and provide a stronger common EU position on the dispute in the South China Sea; (3) multiply exchanges between EU officials, think tank representatives and academics through the ASEAN-ISIS network.


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