Driven by changed circumstances internally, in their neighbourhoods and beyond, the EU and ASEAN are taking a fresh, more realistic and less emotional view of each other. These new approaches, resulting in a marked improvement in relations, are evident in multiple interactions between EU and ASEAN ministers, senior officials and civil society representatives, as well as in the scope and content of recent EU-ASEAN meetings, discussions and documents. The EU’s fresh outlook on ASEAN is part of a wider review of EU-Asia relations by the EU and is being driven by Europe’s determination to enhance its credentials as a global player rather than merely a regional one. It also forms part of an ongoing EU effort to fashion a new foreign and security policy for the twenty-first century. In addition, transatlantic rivalry in response to the rise of Asia is playing an important role, with the US ‘pivot’ or rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific emerging as a key driver of the EU’s new-found determination to forge similarly stronger ties with ASEAN and demands that the EU be allowed to join the EAS. Other important forces are also driving the relationship forward and making it deeper and more multi-faceted. ASEAN’s new and dominant narrative of speeded-up integration and the grouping’s central role in the array of free trade initiatives in the region are prompting the EU to review its perceptions of ASEAN as an ineffective organisation and so to seek stronger and more durable ties with the region. ASEAN’s search for sustained strong growth in order to avoid the ‘middle income trap’ and the EU’s strong ‘jobs and growth’ agenda, prompted by the eurozone crisis and the subsequent European economic slowdown and high rates of unemployment, have enhanced recognition in both the EU and ASEAN of the two regions’ growing economic interdependence. This has prompted heightened EU and ASEAN interest in expanding trade and investment relations. Given their economic interests in the region, France, Germany and Britain have emerged as pivotal drivers of increasing EU engagement with ASEAN. Increased wariness of China’s more assertive posture in the

region, especially as regards conflicting territorial claims in the South China Seas have increased Europe’s awareness of its strategic interest in maintaining (maritime) security in the region (Ashton 2013). ASEAN is also taking a fresh look at the EU. As ASEAN steps up its economic integration agenda, the EU is once again viewed positively by many political actors in the region as a source of experience, technical expertise and transfer of technology. EU investments are being sought for ASEAN’s ambitious connectivity plans. Significantly, the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2008, with its references to human rights and building a ‘people-centred’ ASEAN, and the setting up of the AICHR have removed some of the earlier EU-ASEAN friction over these questions and prompted a palpable toning down of the EU’s prescriptive rhetoric on integration and human rights. In addition, the EU has repeatedly started to promote its security interests in the region while its focus on ‘soft’ nontraditional security, including questions linked to climate change, pandemics, terrorism and cyber security has become attractive for ASEAN and its member states who are seeking to tackle these and other issues more effectively. There is no dearth of literature on interactions between the EU and ASEAN in trade, investments and business as well as the security linkages between the two sides (O’Sullivan 2013). Much has also been written about comparative EU and ASEAN integration processes and regionalisms (Moxon-Browne and Murray 2013). In-depth analysis of the drivers of a new momentum in EU-ASEAN relations and how the current rapprochement can be made more long-lasting and sustained is largely lacking, however. This chapter seeks to shed light on the factors driving forward the EU-ASEAN relationship after years of mutual neglect and acrimony, while also warning of the risks ahead. Finally, it sets out an agenda for the way forward in EU-ASEAN relations.