1 year ago




COMPETING REGIONALISM IN EUROPE AND ASIA: THE PERSPECTIVE OF RUSSIA... to the Chinese hegemonic core. The Eurasian Union and SCO may attempt to develop state led alternative to capitalism, while MERCOSUR is attempting to restrict dependency on the core 11 . Governance and Security Both the Russian Eurasian project and ASEAN are elites’ driven. Albeit incorporating the CIS, the EAEU has a strictly functionalist economic nature, while ASEAN is being found on three pillars. As of today, the EAEU has included agriculture, industry, energy and infrastructure, ICT, trade, customs, economic and financial sub-pillars, while the ASEAN has further explicit focus on attracting investments, tourism, narrowing the development gap, as well as regionally on the challenges in Mekong. Thus, even though investment attraction 12 and regional development is a much needed focus in EAEU, they have not been given explicit focus. ASEAN Regional Forum is essentially a confidence building forum 13 (also focusing on Nontraditional human security and disaster relief measures) in which China and ASEAN play a reluctant role. While the forum is mainly civilian in nature and aims to engage other security actors, including Russia, which is mainly premised on a realist (anti-terrorism) and cyber warfare platform. It is aimed at preventing conflicts in East Asia, while taking into consideration other stakeholders positions (e.g. Collective Security Treaty Organization through Russia’, or NATO through US’ involvement). This inclusivity notwithstanding, “the ASEAN way” would hinder any effective prevention. Relations with Other Regional Configurations European Union The EU has had considerable stake in shaping both the EAEU and ASEAN. In the Eurasian case, the Russian decision for self-exclusion from the ENP initiative can be interpreted as the first stepping stone towards creating an equal partnership. It has transformed into an alternative provider of regulatory integration and will potentially aim to disrupt EU’s efforts at being the main standard-setter. Further transition has been also a switch towards collaborating with separate member states of the EU (such as Germany, France, Czech, Hungary), opening FTA negotiations with Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Uruguay, Chile, South Korea, cooperation on the One Road, One Belt initiative, as well as identifying calls from Vietnam for a wider partnership with ASEAN 14 . On the other side of the equation ASEAN has a stronger functional, value and governance similarity with the EU. It has a committee mirroring the COREPER, a decision-making style recalling EU’s unanimity in the CSDP/taxation areas 15 , but smaller institutions, budget, secretariat and covered policy areas 16 . Cooperation with EU is dealing with renewables (esp. biofuels), industrial standards and regulations, environment, higher education, maritime security, support to agencies and potentially a WTO+ trade regime 17 . 11 Ibid. 12 Names of experts dealing with investment attraction can still be found on LinkedIn. 13 p.346 14 Отчет Евразийской Экономической Комиссии 2012—2015: Расширяя пространство Возможностей / Activity report of the Eurasian Economic Commission 2012-2015/ ar2015_preview.pdf, p.258-263 15 Differing to the EU by the consultation, consensus and non-interference in domestic affairs principles. 16 Walter Kennes, ASEAN and the EU An evolving and solid development partnership, p.369-371 17 Ibid. DIPLOMACY 18/2016 199

COMPETING REGIONALISM IN EUROPE AND ASIA: THE PERSPECTIVE OF RUSSIA... Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Although EAEU and the SCO have a different level of institutionalization, their mutual attraction can lead to the build-up of a common identity and enhancement of legitimacy. They have an overlap of members in the face of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The Chinese rationale is clearly a security one, due to the anti-terrorist foundations of the SCO, as well as economic, due to the 12-fold increase of the trade with the rest of the EAEU countries 18 . The main instrument in the hands of Russia that will allow it to counter the asymmetry in trade would be the protectionist tariffs. ASEAN’s economic rapprochement with SCO in the face of China and India is to be positioned within a rationality perspective. On the security side, the norms of non-interference and public consensus are asymmetric and inconclusive to the internal division of neutral (Cambodia, Laos, Mynmar), indifferent (Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore), claimants downplaying the conflict (Malaysia and Brunei) and claimants seeing it as a treat (Philippines and Vietnam), which essentially allow China to exhibit authority, despite the signature of a code of conduct 19 , thus effectively turning it into a threat. Asia-Europe Meeting The issue- and network-based leadership, initiated by the Asia-Europe Meeting now includes both ASEAN and Russia (Eastern Partnership countries are excluded) and offers new forms of governance 20 of many security and sustainability issues that can bring together actors with otherwise contrasting positions. For being based in Singapore the organization can provide ASEAN with leverage on the agenda-setting. Complementary and conflicting objectives ASEAN is borrowing its institutional structure from the European Union and has thus an ample plurality of governance areas, while the Eurasian Union is attempting to solidify the existing institutional commitments and is strictly focused on the economic area. The SCO’s security arrangements, where the EAEU is largely included, can potentially strengthen regional security if a threat is stemming from the central part of Asia, but expose the contrasting interests of China in the South China Sea, which are a litmus test for the ASEAN Regional Forum. While ASEAN is premised strictly in counterbalance to the SCO, the EAEU, before the Russian revisionism, was intended to be complementary to the grand idea of pan-Europeanism 21 , or at least an effective way to bring a partnership on equal grounds. However, this idea would potentially bring both ideational clash with ASEAN’s attempts to restrain communism and to act as uniform body, due to Vietnam’s trade and Laos governance preferences, as well as with EU’s attempts for regulatory export through the DCFTA’s as the EAEU will also try to sign a FTA with Egypt. This strategy, learned from the EU will possibly be Russia’s main way to compete with the EU. It might have resounding success, especially as ASEAN has had both successful and unfavorable experiences with regionalism. In essence its constituents are resisting further opening, which is in lieu with Russia’s idea of counterbalancing the WTO’s 200 18 Ivaylo Gatev & Glenn Diesen (2016): Eurasian encounters: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, European Politics and Society 19 Munmun Majumdar (2015) The ASEAN Way of Conflict Management in the South China Sea, Strategic Analysis, 39:1, 73-87 20 Lay Hwee Yeo, The Asia-Europe Meeting 21 Richard Sakwa, Eureasian Integration: A Project for the 21st Century, in David Lane and Vsevolod Samokhvalov, The Eurasian Project and Europe, 2015, Palgrave, p.59 ДИПЛОМАЦИЯ 18/2016