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Research - The EU Approach to Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific - from Strategy to Practice

Phase 1: European Indo-Pacific Strategies and Perception of Vietnam

The Indo-Pacific – spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific Island States – is a region where the European Union (EU) has long enjoyed a broad and comprehensive relationship with its partners. The EU has currently showed its interest and clearer policies towards this region. To learn about the European Union’s approach to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and impacts on regional countries, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH), VNU Hanoi and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Vietnam implement a research project entitled “The EU Approach to Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific: from Strategy to Practice”. the project includes three phases; each phase conducted in one year. The earliest phase of the research looks at the EU’s strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in general, the reasons why the EU has decided to adopt a strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, priority areas for its Indo-Pacific strategy, and expected impacts of the strategy. It then discusses the Indo-Pacific perspectives of three EU member states, namely France, Germany, and the Netherland, who were the first EU member states to develop their own strategies in the region, for in-depth study. The role that Vietnam plays in those strategies is briefly analyzed. The last part of the first report discusses how Vietnam, an increasingly important actor in the Indo-Pacific region, views the role of the EU and its member states and what expectations are associated with EU activities from Vietnam’s perspective.

The research includes 5 chapters analyzing the EU’s and its member states’ approaches to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region:

- Chapter 1. The EU’s strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region

- Chapter 2. France’s Indo-Pacific strategy

- Chapter 3. Germany’s Indo-Pacific perspective

- Chapter 4. The Netherland’s Indo-Pacific perspective

- Chapter 5. Vietnam’s perception of European engagement in the region

The researchers participating in the research are from USSH, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen and Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

The launching event was held on November 11, 2021 with the participation of researchers, lecturers and students in the field of international relations and European studies. At the event, the presentation about main results of the research given by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bui Hong Hanh, USSH, was followed by the panel discussion with the participation of three panelists:

 - Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thu My, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, VASS

- Dr. Pham Cao Cuong, Director of Institute of Indian and Southwest Asian Studies, VASS

- Dr.  Luu Thuy Hong, Vice Dean, Faculty of International Relations, Academy of Journalism and Communication

The panelists gave comments about the research, affirmed its valuable results and suggested potential topics for the second phase. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thu My emphasized that the results of this research are original contributions to the study of the EU’s strategy towards the Indo-Pacific region which had not received much attention in Vietnam. Dr. Luu Thuy Hong and Dr. Pham Cao Cuong said that it is difficult to analyse the perception of Vietnam or any other countries of the EU’s strategy because it had been launched for less than two months. However, the researchers’ analysis was based on historical and contextual understanding of the whole region and the relationship between Vietnam and the EU. Therefore, the research arguments had scientific and practical basis. The researchers should develop this study to learn more about how this strategy would be implemented in the future and about the perception and response of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region.