Diffusing Regional Integration: The EU and Southeast Asia

Publication Date: 
15 December 2011
Publisher: 
Routlegde
Publication Place: 
London
Publication Language: 
EN
Appearing in: 
West European Politics
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
1
Pages: 
174-191
DOI: 
10.1080/01402382.2012.631320
Abstract: 

Given its distinctive structure and norms, is ASEAN’s recent institutionalisation an
instance of diffusion from the EU to ASEAN? Or do we observe adaptation to changes
in the external and domestic environments of ASEAN states that are unrelated to, or
independent of, the EU? Or is there some combination of both at work here – diffusion
and adaptation to changes that do not relate to the EU? This article argues that
ASEAN members have started to adopt EU-style institutions, in particular, the EU’s
Committee of Permanent Representatives and economic integration processes. This
adoption process can be conceived as both lesson-drawing and normative emulation
from the EU. This has not led to a comprehensive and systematic copying of EU
institutions by ASEAN. Rather, member states have acted selectively in line with their
‘cognitive priors’ about state sovereignty. We observe institutional change only, but not
a change in behavioural practices.