Regional integration organisations have developed in different parts of the globe. Various theoretical frameworks have been developed to categorise and explain how such organisations are started, how they grow and how they become institutionalised. Attention has also been devoted to the way in which regional ideas have spread over time, and in particular on how successful models such as the EU have contributed to the creation of regionalisation processes in other parts of the world. Comparatively less attention has been devoted to the question of region-to-region cooperation. As regional bodies become more active in policymaking and shaping, they also start looking at each other to build alliances, notably on issues of global significance or on subjects of global negotiations. Representatives of regional bodies often adopt a rhetoric of cooperation based on shared values and visions, focusing on the similarities between regional bodies. How effective is such cooperation? How can regional bodies with diverse mandates, set-ups and organisational cultures work together? In other words, what are the drivers for region-to-region cooperation? This chapter proposes to offer a first answer to such questions, looking at cooperation between the EU and ASEAN. The EU and ASEAN are, in the eyes of many scholars, today’s most successful examples of regional integration. The two groupings have developed close relations, underpinned by regular high-level political meetings, trade and economic relations and numerous dialogues and projects. At the meeting of the EU-ASEAN foreign affairs ministers held in July 2014, the two sides agreed to work towards an upgrade of relations to a ‘strategic partnership’. It is easy to assume that the two organisations ‘share the same DNA’ as it is sometimes said. This assumption is put to the test in the following pages: while the two groupings share a family resemblance, their origins and their evolution – in other words, their genetic makeup – set them aside. We can see clear

differences in the overall political goals of the two blocs, as well as in the institutional, financial and decision-making arrangements underpinning each organisation. In this chapter we will compare and contrast the integration drivers on the EU side and on the ASEAN side. It will be argued that whilst in the case of the EU the main driver for integration remains a shared political vision for an ever closer Union with strong supranational institutions as its engine and benefitting from the security blanket of NATO, ASEAN members have approached regionalism mainly as a way of reducing security risks and harnessing regional tensions, without aiming for closer political integration and opting for weak institutions and low enforcement capability. Closer economic interdependence is promoted by both regional entities, but whilst for the EU this is part and parcel of the political vision agreed by its member states, ASEAN prefers to maintain strong inter-governmental provisions, rooted in the security concerns of its members. On the basis of the comparison between the EU and ASEAN, we will suggest a framework for assessing region-to-region cooperation. It will be argued that to strengthen cooperation we need to look at competence to act, ability to decide and capacity to implement. This approach will be applied to EU and ASEAN cooperation. It will be shown that on almost all counts there is a great disparity between the two in terms of their ability to act, decide and implement the different actions agreed. As a result cooperation remains very skewed, with the EU driving it as a regional integration body but ASEAN requiring constant intergovernmental consensual consultations.