After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM


Time line


Countries in focus

Australia, India, Japan, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore South Korea and Thailand

About the study

January 1st 2010 marked a watershed in EU external relations. With the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the appointment of the first High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy(HR) and the launch of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU embraced on a new phase of international diplomacy. This innovation has been acknowledged as an opportunity for the EU to become “…a major actor in global affairs”.1

This introduction highlights four particular points of significance for the project, After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM. The innovative research provides a unique and immediate mechanism to assess the impact of the Lisbon Treaty innovations. The project Consortium had previously conducted “EU Perceptions” research during 2002-9. The findings of these research projects revealed an overall low-level visibility of the EU evident in the Asia-Pacific region under the Maastricht and Amsterdam provisions. Hence, the project is well equipped to assess and compare the impact of the EEAS and HR. The timing of this new initiative is crucial. The EEAS has been operational since 2010; hence the project has been able to assess the EEAS’ visibility and impact during its formative years.

Secondly, the EU’s ‘normative’ identity combines the rule of law, governance and democracy with ‘hard’ power decisions, giving the EU “a unique opportunity to brand itself as a beacon of civilization and prosperity”2.
To test this claim, the project has conducted a comparative study of external views of the EU as a global authority and model of integration, environmental initiatives, human rights and democracy in Asia and the role of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) process in shaping these views.

Thirdly, the project has trained a new young researcher cohort and provided them with methodological expertise as well as a substantive expertise in EU Studies. To date, the vast majority of EU experts in the region are either of EU origin or were trained in the EU. This project has therefore helped to develop local expertise and incited a growth in indigenous EU expertise in Asia, something which is important if the EU is able to positively influence events beyond its borders.

Finally, with perceptions studies being an integral part of EU public diplomacy, the study will contribute to a more informed people-to-people dialogue between Europe and Asia especially in light of the Lisbon Treaty and the changing framework of EU external action. Indeed, the Lisbon Treaty provides a revolutionary way for the EU to communicate outside of its borders.

1. Emerson, M, Balfour, R, Corthaut,  Maciej Kaczyński, P, Renard, T, and Wouters, J "Upgrading the EU's Role as Global Actor: Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy" Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2011.

2. Van Ham, P. “Place Branding: The State of Art, in G. Cowan and N. Cull, ‘Public Diplomacy in a Changing World’, The Annals, Vol. 616, 2008, pp.126-149, 137.

Time line


Countries in Focus

Japan, South Korea, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Russia

Media analysis


The first stage of research, a systematic analysis of local media, was conducted over a six month period – from January 1 until June 30 2011, in 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific.

In each country 3 newspapers were monitored: a popular newspaper with the largest public circulation; the second newspaper listed is the leading business newspaper; and the third item is an English-language newspaper printed daily in each area (largely read by national elites and expatriates). In addition, the television station with the widest national outreach in each location was also monitored for content on the European Union. The following table demonstrates which newspapers and television channels which were monitored:

Country Popular NP Business NP English Language NP TV news
Japan Yomiuri Shimbun Nikkei Japan Times Newswatch 9
South Korea Chosun Daily Maeil Business Korea Herald KBS News 9
China People's daily International Finance News China Daily CCTV 1
India The Dainik Jagarin The Economic Times The Times of India DD News
Singapore Lianhe Zaobao Business Times Straits Times Channel 8
Thailand Thai Rat The Manager The Bangok post ITV
Malaysia Utasan Malaysia The Financial Edge Daily The Star TV3
Australia Herald Sun Australian Financial Review The Australian ABC 7 O'Clock
New Zealand The New Zealand Herald The National Business Review The Press TV1
Russia Russian Newspaper News Moscow Times Channel 1

Elite Opinion Analysis

The second stage of the research consisted of interviews with approximately 40 ‘movers and shakers’ of the respective countries in the project was conducted between July 2011 – December 2011. These interviews were conducted by the local researchers in the native language and translated into English. The proven questionnaire was semi-structured and mostly consisted of open-ended questions (with two closed-ended questions). The questions were formulated to assess elite perceptions of the European Union.

Public Opinion Analysis

The final stage of research consisted of online surveys in order to gauge the public opinion of the European Union. These surveys were conducted with 1000 respondents and again, were based on perceptions rather than knowledge. TNS London administered the survey and the margin of error for 1000 respondents is +/- 2.9%. The surveys were conducted in April 2012.

Project Management Team

Professor Martin Holland
National Centre for Research on Europe
University of Canterbury
New Zealand

Associate Professor Natalia Chaban
National Centre for Research on Europe
University of Canterbury
New Zealand

Dr Serena Kelly
National Centre for Research on Europe 
University of Canterbury
New Zealand

Sol Iglesias
ASEF Director (Intellectual Exchanges)

Ronan Lenihan

Project Research Teams


Dr Eva Polonska-Kimunguyi
Monash University

Dr Patrick Kimunguyi
Monash University


Shreya Pandey
Doctoral Research Scholar
Centre for European Studies
School of International Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi


Dr Paul Bacon 
Deputy Director of the European Union Institute 
Waseda University

Ms Emi Kato
PhD candidate and Research Associate/Programme Coordinator
European Union Institute 
Waseda University

Mainland China

Dr Li Zhang (Jasmine)
Research Fellow
School of Contemporary Chinese Studies
University of Nottingham


Asia-Europe Institute
University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur


Dr Yeo Lay Hwee
European Union Centre
National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University

Loke Hoe Yeong
European Union Centre
National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University

South Korea

Dr Sung-Won Yoon 
Research Professor
EU Research Centre
Korea University


Olga Gulyaeva
PhD Candidate
National Centre for Research on Europe
University of Canterbury


Panyapat Piyathamsawat
Freelance Journalist


Sofia Cardoso Alves

Manuel Liesenfeld

Jakub Kucera

Further Details about our Research Team

Prof. Martin Holland holds a Jean Monnet Chair (ad personam), and is Director of the National Centre for Research on Europe in New Zealand. Professor Holland is internationally recognised for his work on EU Development policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy and on the Perceptions of the EU, especially within the Asia Pacific region. He has written or edited more than 20 books and is a visiting lecturer at several EU Studies programmes in Asia and the USA. Previously he has been an EUI Jean Monnet Fellow (1987), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (1992-4) as well as a Rockerfeller Bellagio Fellow (2000).

Associate Professor Natalia Chaban is Senior Lecturer above the Bar and Deputy Director of the   National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE), University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Since 2002, she has been a research leader and co-supervisor of the comparative cross-national research project “The EU in Asia Pacific Region: Public, Elite and Media Images and Perceptions" currently involving 18 locations in the region. Dr Chaban has an extensive publication record actively pursuing her research interests in cognitive and semiotic aspects of political and mass media discourses, cross-cultural adjustment, image studies, and European/EU identity studies outside the EU.

Dr Paul Bacon is Deputy Director of the European Union Institute in Japan (EUIJ) at Waseda University, and a tenured Associate Professor of International Politics at Waseda’s School of International Liberal Studies. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, and has taught at a number of Japanese universities, including Chiba University, Aoyama Gakuin University and the United Nations University. Professor Bacon received his Ph.D. from the University of Kent (UK), as a recipient of a full scholarship provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the most prestigious and competitive scholarship funding available to students of International Relations in the UK. His research interests include European Union foreign policy, EU-Japan relations, United Nations reform, democracy promotion and human rights protection.

Ms Emi Kato is a PhD candidate and Research Associate/Programme Coordinator at the European Union Institute, Waseda University. Her research interests are focussed on international relations and international migration.

Dr. Sung-Won Yoon is a Research Professor at Korea University's EU Research Centre. She received her MSc in European Studies from London School of Economics and Political Science and her Ph.D. in International Commerce from Korea University. Her main research interests are on EU cultural policy, European identity and multiculturalism. Recently she has worked in collaboration with the National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand on an international comparative study to measure the media, public and elite perceptions of the European Union in the Asia Pacific. She now lectures at Korea University.

Dr Li Zhang (Jasmine) holds a Ph.D. in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds, UK and is research fellow in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. She was awarded the European Studies in Asia (ESiA) Young Academic’s Research Fellowship in 2009. Her research is interdisciplinary and mainly focuses on mass communication and foreign policy, media and politics, news management and public diplomacy, and EU-Asia relations. She has also worked in the media and communication industries before as a journalist, editor and communication manager for many years.

Shreya Pandey is a Ph.D candidate of the Centre for European Studies (CES), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. She is working on her doctoral dissertation entitled "EU-India Relations: Perceptions of the Print Media and the Indian Elite". She is teaching Political Science as a faculty at the NBA School of Mass Communication, Jain TV. She holds an M.A. degree in Political Science (with specialization in International Relations) (2007) and  has done her MPhil. from the  Centre for European Studies, JNU (2009). She worked as Assitant Professor (Political Science) at Janaki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi during 2008-2009. Her research interests include Kosovo, Common Foreign and Security Policy, German foreign policy and situating the European Union as a global actor.

Hoe-Yeong LOKE is Policy & Programme Executive at the EU Centre in Singapore. He completed an MSc in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BSc in Politics & International Relations at the University of London. His research interests include comparative regional integration (EU and Asia), the conflicts in Cyprus, Georgia, Sri Lanka and China-Taiwan, and constitutional theory. Hoe Yeong is currently the Singaporean researcher for the Jean Monnet research project, ‘After Lisbon: the EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM’. Formerly trained as a musician, he graduated with a Bachelor if Music with High Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York.

Ms Panyapat Piyathamsawat (Som) currently works as a producer for Channel NewsAsia, Singapore's English TV station, based in Bangkok. Since 1994, she has worked for a number of local and international newspapers, including the Krungthep Turakit and the Sankei Shimbun. In 2003 Ms Panyapat joined the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok where she worked as a political and economic researcher. Ms Panyapat received B.A. in English at Chiang Mai University in 1993 and M.A. in Political Science majoring in International Relations and Diplomacy at Thammasat University in 2008.

Nurul Syahida Ahmad Said currently works as Project Officer at the Asia-Europe Institute (AEI), University of Malaya (UM). Nurul’s daily work involves coordinating events & collating AEI publications, promoting postgraduate studies and student recruitment. She graduated from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Kedah, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Operation Management and International Business and she has an International Masters in Regional Integration (IMRI) from AEI. Nurul is also an active volunteer with Service Civil International (SCI) Malaysia since 1999, where she is currently the International Coordinator. In addition, she is also the co-editor of SCI Regional newsletter (for Asia, Australia and The Mauritius) called Asian Voice. She has participated in international workshops in South Korea, Belgium and Germany.

Dr Eva Polonska obtained a PhD from the University of Melbourne where she studied media and audiovisual policy of the European Union. She received a Master of Arts in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Warsaw, Poland. Dr Polonska also worked as a journalist for Polish national television. She has lectured in media and contemporary European politics, democracy and global politics and is now a lecturer of European studies at Monash University. Her interests include media, cultural policies and the relationship between media and politics.

Dr Patrick Kimunguyi holds a PhD in Political Science and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Warsaw. Patrick has lectured in European history and politics at Monash University and in global politics at the University of Melbourne. His current research interests include North-South relations in particular on media perceptions of the European Union (EU) in Africa. He has published on EU development aid, trade, security, conflict prevention and humanitarian policies.

Dr Serena Kelly is a post doctoral fellow at the NCRE. She has participated in several stages of the “EU External Perceptions” project as both a researcher and trainer and is currently undertaking a project looking at the Commonwealth perceptions of the post-Lisbon EU. Her PhD research focused on the potential impact in the Asia Pacific of Lisbon’s provision of the European External Action Service.

Olga Gulyaeva is a PhD student at the NCRE. In 2009, Olga graduated from the Russian State Humanitarian University (Moscow, Russia), majoring in Cultural Studies. In her thesis, Olga explored how advertising has changed perception of the European Union (EU) in Russia. The integration of European advertising in Moscow occurs against the background of social reflection on the Soviet Union and of the influence of the EU. Olga also studied for her Honours’ degree at the International Pacific College (Palmerston North, New Zealand). Her PhD research is an integral part of multi-national research project "Images and Perceptions of the EU in Asia-Pacific", coordinated by Dr. Natalia Chaban and Prof. Martin Holland, assessing how Russia's geographic location and historical background shapes Russia's role at the Asian European Meeting (ASEM) and what are the images of the EU and its institutions: indeed, Russia's geo-political positioning in the ASEM suggests that the EU is further cast into the role of Russia's major on the Eurasian continent.

Lai Suet Yi (Cher) is a PhD candidate at the National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Cher was born, raised and educated in Hong Kong up to Bachelor level (majoring in European Studies and French at Hong Kong Baptist University 2006). My honour paper was on "the role of France in the Treaty of European Constitution". In 2004, I went to France as an exchange student in Institute d'etude Politique de Lille for one year. Since 2007, I have been studying under the supervision of Prof. Martin Holland, Dr. Natalia Chaban and Dr. Kenneth Chan focussing on the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), regionalism and inter-regionalism in the EU-Asia relations. Between July-October 2010, Cher took an internship at the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think tank. Cher is also a project coordinator and trainer for "Asia through the eyes of EU" (2010-11) and " After Lisbon: The EU as an Exporter of Values and Norms through ASEM"."

Tim line

December 2010: Media methodology workshop, Macau

January 1st 2011: Commencement of media data collection

April 2011: Preliminary findings workshop, Bangkok

June 2011: Elite interviews workshop, Singapore

July 2011: Commencement of national elite interviews

April 2012: Final Workshop, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

April 2012 Jean Monnet Public Event, 'Communicating Europe in Times of Crises', University of Canterbury, New Zealand


April 2012
On April 13, researchers presented at the Jean Monnet Public Event, 'Communicating Europe in Times of Crises', held at the University of Canterbury. Video link

On 9-12th April the researchers met for the final workshop at the Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. This meeting provided a chance for researchers to present and discuss their findings from the elite interviews component as well as public opinion findings. Dr Michael Bruter from the London School of Economics also joined the team for the first time to discuss the public opinion findings.

July 2011
On the 6th-8th July in the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Singapore, a full presentation of the media findings was presented by all researchers. Further, training was conducted for the up-coming elite interviews stage. The workshop was concluded with a public event in which findings media findings from Singapore and China were presented

April 2011 
In April 2011 all of the team met in Bangkok, Thailand for a 2 day comparative workshop presenting the initial media findings from the first three months of analysis. This workshop displayed a number of interesting findings which makes the way the EU was being portrayed in contrast to other years. We were also pleased to meet one of our new colleagues from Japan, Dr Paul Beacon.

December 2010
The first meeting was held in Macau, December 2010. This workshop united not only the new researchers but was also a chance for the experienced researchers from the ‘India, Malaysia and Macau’ stage to impart their skills and make their final conclusions from their research.