Thesis Work in Progress Seminar: The EU-Australia Strategic Relationship

The EU-Australia Strategic Relationship: A Method of European Engagement in Asia?

The international system is presently in an era of profound transformation and change. With the global locus of wealth and power shifting from the Euro-Atlantic to Asia, it is evident that Western pre-eminence no longer constitutes an assured reality of the international system. In response, Western actors are presently re-evaluating their strategy towards Asia as a means of protecting their regional interests against any potential challenges associated with Asia’s rise. However, in this contemporary era of Western rebalancing towards the East, the European Union (EU) has yet to determine how it will protect its interests in Asia.

The proposed thesis constitutes policy-prescriptive research. Its purpose is to evaluate a potential method of EU engagement in Asia yet to be considered in substantial depth. Specifically, it determines whether the EU should deepen its strategic relationship with Australia as a means of protecting its interests. Under the theoretical guidance of middle power theory, the thesis will assess the strategic compatibility of the EU and Australia within Asia. This will be achieved through a comparison of the EU and Australia’s individual strategies towards three Asian states of mutual importance: China, Burma/Myanmar and India. The thesis’ findings will thus infer whether the EU should enhance its strategic relationship with Australia in order to protect its interests located within the geopolitical setting of Asia.

Rhys Merrett is a PhD candidate at the Centre for European Studies at the Australian National University. He holds a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales, which included a full academic year at the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2009-2010. Rhys was awarded his Master of Strategic Studies from the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in 2011. Aside from his academic commitments, Rhys works as a full-time researcher for the Australian Parliament’s House of Representative’s Committee Office.

To view the flyer for this event please see: The EU-Australia Strategic Relationship: A Method of European Engagement in Asia?

Date & time

Fri 01 Nov 2013, 12am


ANU Centre for European Studies, 1 Liversidge Street (Bldg 67C), Canberra


Rhys Merrett, PhD Candidate, ANU Centre for European Studies


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