It is commonplace that the European Union (EU) attempts to diffuse human rights and the other ‘essential elements’ to its external partners. It is also commonly known that these attempts frequently face accusations of inconsistency and double standards from without as well as within the EU. The aim of this article is to assess why the EU has readily promoted norms and values in some instances and not in others through the examination of the EU as an actor in the case of transboundary and newly emerging security challenges in Southeast Asia. This article suggests that the EU has displayed a demand-oriented and issue-specific shift in its strategy to effectively diffuse norms. This is not a capitulation of norms and values on the part of the EU. Rather, it is the re-strategisation of its normative identity in its external relations to match the domestic and international realities.
ASEAN, Normative actor, Norm diffusion, Transboundary challenges, EU-ASEAN relationship
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