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Asia’s perceptions of the EU: project results

European Studies in Asia (ESiA), a network administered by the Asia-Europe Foundation, has just released the preliminary findings of a multi-phase transnational pilot project EU through the eyes of Asia: A Comparative Study of Public, Elite, and Media Perceptions of the EU in South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and China. Providing a wide forum for collaboration and exchange between European studies academics, institutions, and networks in the Asian region, ESiA sought to expose and fight the lack of information and education on the European Union in this region of the world.

The first phase of the study, focusing on major regional media sources – the ‘dominant information medium for Asian civil society’, revealed an inherent lack of EU coverage.

As opposed to implicitly criticising the Asian media, study director Peter Ryan chose an alternative angle, suggesting how Europe might raise its visibility in Asia. He comments, ‘The more the EU can have a single external personality then the more understanding in the media and public opinion is likely to follow’. He also adds, ‘A consistent and comprehensive public diplomacy strategy that mirrors the success of Jean Monet, Socrates, and Erasmus programmes within the EU and extended to Asia would help facilitate a knowledge based perception on the EU.’

ACA’s recent project Perceptions of European Higher Education in third countries, echoes the finding of this study and similarly suggests promoting a common European identity, and specifically, an education identity, in raising awareness about Europe. ESiA
The European Union through the Eyes of Asia: A comparative study of media perceptions