Examining EU power narratives within an emerging region : examining normative power Europe and market power Europe through images and perceptions of the European Union within external partners in an emerging region
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of European Union Studies
Since its conception, the European Union (EU) has battled to confirm its legitimacy as an influential player within the global arena, where some have considered the EU to be a “new superpower” (Reid, 2004; Schnabel, 2005; McCormick, 2006), while others consider the EU as a “divided, weak declining power” (Zielonka, 1998; Menon, 2008). External EU partners have long been seen as vehicles for the EU to strengthen their legitimacy claims through the reinforcement of their own identity. In the wake of the rise of a multipolar world, the EU is attempting to position itself within the realm of notable political players like that of the US and China. The narrative of “Normative Power Europe” (NPE) (Manners, 2002) has been long argued to be an integral part of the EU’s identity as a global player. The exportation of European ideological norms and values through economic, social and political agreements between the EU and external partners has been abundantly discussed in literature. Yet, the EU’s pull of ideological/cosmopolitan norms and values is often contrasted by scholars with a pull of liberal/market norms and values which leads to another reflection, and different narrative, of the EU’s global power – “Market Power Europe” (NPE) (Damro, 2012), proposed to demonstrate the EU’s might and influence through its economic and regulatory clout in relations with external partners. This thesis examines critically these two narratives and explores their perceptions among third country partners positioning its inquiry within the context of the EU’s latest institutional crises – the Brexit vote, the refugee migration crisis and the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Understanding the formation, communication and reception of the NPE and MPE narratives is argued to be critical for understanding the EU’s role and position in the evolving global order – in both the eyes of the EU and in the eyes of its global counterparts. Literature shows a lack of an in-depth empirical analysis of the Asia-Pacific players, therefore, this thesis focuses undertakes a two-pronged methodology in order to understand how NPE and MPE characteristics are communicated and understood in two of the EU’s partners in the Asia Pacific – Indonesia and Malaysia. Firstly, influential print media discourses in the two countries are analysed in order to understand the perceived impact of EU communication outside of its borders. Secondly, the thesis analyses elite perceptions of the EU. Both datasets are examined factoring in historical and cultural filters in the emerging geo-political region of Southeast Asia, case studies of Indonesia and Malaysia.