The European Union in the Eyes of Asia


Time line

2006 - Ongoing

Countries in focus

Japan, South Korea, mainland China, SAR Hong Kong, SAR Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and India

In 2005, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) initiated ESiA - a network of European Studies in Asia. The motivation was pragmatic and sought to redress an apparent imbalance. Whilst within the European Union (EU) there are already a number of credible institutes that focus on Asia and Asian affairs, in Asia, there are very few comparable institutes that examine the EU and European studies.

In a serious effort to reinvigorate European studies institutions in the Asian region, one of the first activities of the ESiA network was to undertake a comparative trans-national empirical project on how the EU is perceived in Asia, in a partnership with Fudan University (China), Hong Kong Baptist University (SAR Hong Kong), Keio University (Japan), National University of Singapore (Singapore), Korea University (South Korea), and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) in 2006-07; Vietnam National University (Vietnam), Universitas Indonesia (Indonesia), and Ateneo de Manila University (the Philippines) in 2008-09; University of Malaya (Malaysia), Universidade de Macau (SAR Macao) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (India) in 2009-2010.

This choice of topic reflected the reality that reliable knowledge did not exist hitherto: the information available tended to be impressionistic, some comparatively convincing, some seemingly implausible, but completely lacking hard, empirical evidence on how exactly Asian citizens and the media saw the EU. For all of the regions examined in this project, the EU represents either a significant, or the most significant economic relationship and is increasingly emerging as a significant political and security dialogue partner.

Conceptually, this project helps to inform us about the global importance of the EU and how this is being interpreted outside of Europe. As was outlined in a substantive report for the Commission, “Europe does not exist without non-Europe” and “Europe can only be realized in the mirror of Others” (Stråh, 2002). To understand the EU itself, external reflection is needed in order to interpret its meaning.

Media analysis

Year Duration(Months) Country ‘Popular' Newspaper ‘Business' 
‘English-language' Newspaper Total # of NP articles TV Channel

Total # of

2006 12 China People's Daily International Finance News China Daily 1831 CCTV 148
2006 12 Hong Kong Oriental Daily Hong KongEconomic Journal South ChinaMorning Post 2154 TVB Jade 16
2006 12 South Korea Chosun Daily Maeil Business Korea Herald 927 KBS 36
2006 12 Singapore Lienhe Zaobao Business Times Straits Times 2406 Channel 8 16
2006 12 Thailand Thai Rath The Manager Bangkok Post 975 ITV 25
2006 6 Japan Yomiuri Shimbun Nihon Keizai Shimbun The Japan Times 770 N/A 0
2008 6 Vietnam Youth VNET Vietnam News 207 VTV1 21
2008 6 Indonesia Kompas Bisnis Indonesia Jakarta Post 640 TVRI 50
2008 6 The Philippines Philippine Daily Inquirer Business World Manila Bulletin 255 GMA 7 24 Oras 1
2009 6 SAR Macau  Macao Daily News  Hong Kong Economic Journal  Macau Daily Times 1030  Teledifusao de Macau  26
2009 6 India  Dainik Jagaran  The Economic Times  Times of India  235  N/A  0
2009 6 Malaysia  Utusan Malaysia  The Edge Financial Daily  The Star  487  TV3  6

Public opinion analysis




Sample size

Fieldwork institute

Nov-06 Thailand Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-06 South Korea Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-06 Singapore Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-06 SAR Hong Kong Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-06 Japan Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Dec-06 China Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-08 Vietnam Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-08 Indonesia Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
Nov-08 Philippines Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
2010 SAR Macau Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
2010 Malaysia Online panels, 23 questions 400 respondents TNS
2010 India Online panels, 23 questions 403

Elite opinion analysis

Date Country Method Number of interviews
March-August 2007 Thailand Semi-structured, face-to-face 16
March-August 2007 South Korea Semi-structured, face-to-face 27
March-August 2007 Singapore Semi-structured, face-to-face 32
March-August 2007 SAR Hong Kong Semi-structured, face-to-face 31
March-August 2007 China Semi-structured, face-to-face 32
March-August 2007 Japan Semi-structured, face-to-face 32
March-July 2008 Vietnam Semi-structured, face-to-face 32
March-July 2008 Indonesia Semi-structured, face-to-face 32
March-July 2008 Philippines Semi-structured, face-to-face 31
September 2009- December 2010 India Semi-structured, face-to-face 38
September 2009- December 2010 Malaysia Semi-structured, face-to-face 40
September 2009- December 2010 SAR Macau Semi-structured, face-to-face 40

Project Supervisors

Professor Martin Holland
National Centre for Research on Europe

Sol Iglesias
ASEF Director (Intellectual Exchanges)

Project leader and coordinator

Dr. Natalia Chaban
National Centre for Research on Europe

Project senior researchers

Assoc. Prof. Barnard Turner 
Academic Convenor 
European Studies Programme 
National University of Singapore

Prof. Apirat Petchsiri 
Multidisciplinary Department of European Studies 
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Assoc. Prof. Chan Ka Lok, Kenneth 
Department of Government and International Studies 
Hong Kong Baptist University, China

Prof. Dai Bingran 
Jean Monnet Chair 
Centre for European Studies 
Fudan University, China

Prof. Sung-Hoon Park 
Graduate School of International Studies 
Korea University

Prof. Toshiro Tanaka 
Faculty of Law 
Keio University, Japan

Ambassador Rosario Manalo 
European Studies Program 
Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines

Prof Cornelis Pieter Frederik Luhulima
Senior Researcher
European Studies Programme
Universitas Indonesia

Dr Pahm Quang Minh
Department of International Relations
Vietnam National University

Ass. Prof Alma Maria O. Salvador
Assistant Professor/Chair
Department of Political Science
Ateneo de Manila University
The Philippines

Young researchers

  • Lai Suet-yi (SAR Hong Kong)
  • Ma Shaohua (Singapore)
  • Rachanirom Raveepaopong (Thailand)
  • Trip Kirtiputra (Thailand)
  • Mina Maya Genenz (Japan)
  • Eijiro Fukui (Japan)
  • Zhang Shuangquan (China)
  • Yoongu Paran (South Korea)
  • Yeo Jung Seo (South Korea)
  • Leslie Advincula Lopez (the Philippines)
  • Manuel Enverga (the Philippines)
  • Hiếu Trần Bách (Vietnam)
  • Bui Hai Dang (Vietnam)
  • Edward Panjaitan (Indonesia)
  • Anika Widiana (Indonesia)

Students associated with research

  • Christian Schneider, Honours Thesis Research, MA Thesis Research
  • Richard Malthus, Honours Thesis Research, MA Thesis Research
  • Lai Suet-yi, PhD Thesis
  • Sae Won Chung, PhD Thesis



Selection of the research fellows in the listed countries Dec 2005
Phase I starts: 
Orientation research training workshop "Project Research Methodology", Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Jan 2006
Content analysis of national news print and broadcast media Jan Dec 2006
Research training seminar #2, NCRE, NZ. 
Joint research group work in NZ on comparing media findings
Jul 2006
Panel presentation on media findings at the NESCA Workshop “EU´s new identity and its perception in Asia: Responding to the 7th Framework Programme “Europe in the World’’, 27-29 July 2006 Christchurch, NZ Jul 2006
National Survey design. 
Translation of the Questionnaires.
Survey implementation (with the help of professional social research group TNS)
Nov -Dec 2006
Presentation of the project findings to the ASEF event --  “The EU through the Eyes of the Asian Media” Workshop and the 2nd ESiA Advisory Group Meeting in Hong Kong, China, on 11-13 December 2006. Dec 2006
Phase II starts:
Research training seminar #3. 
Interim Media and Public Opinion Analysis.
Training in Elite Interviews Methodology.
Singapore, ASEF
Mar 2007
Elite interviews. 
Analysis of elite interviews findings
Mar - Sep 2007
Writing and editing book “The EU through the Eyes of Asia: Media, Public and Elite Perceptions in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand” (co-edited by Martin Holland, Petere Ryan, Aloizy Novak and Natalia Chaban) Apr - Nov 2005
Publishing and launching the book: ASEAN Meeting in Singapore Nov 2007
Final presentation of the findings at the ASEF “Workshop on the Future of European Studies in Asia" in Manila, the Philippines, on 5-7 December 2007 Dec 2007
Phase III starts:
Orientation research training workshop "Project Research Methodology" fro Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, 
Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, the Philippines
Dec 2007
Media, public and elite data collection and preliminary analysis Dec - Jul 2008
Interim research meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam May 2008
Launch of the book “The EU through the Eyes of Asia” in nine locations participating in the study May 2008
Interim research meeting, Singapore Jul 2008
Final research meeting Sep 2008
ESIA panel presentation at the International Conference Europe in the Changing World: challenges, priorities and research collaboration”, NCRE, Christchurch, NZ Sep 2008
Presentation of final analysis, Beijing, China Oct 2008
Work on ESiA Volume 2 reporting results of the study in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines Dec - May 2009
Publication of ESiA Volume 2 2nd half of 2009
Orientation research training workshop "Project Research Methodology" for news researchers from SAR Macau, Malaysia and India, at University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Jun 2009
Work on Young Academic Workshop publication Jun - Dec 2009
Publication of Young Academic Workshop publication Jan 2010
Media, public and elite data collection in Macau, Malaysia and India and preliminary analysis Jul - Dec 2010