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Changing Tides and Changing Ties – Anchoring Asia-Europe Relations in Challenging Times

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The EU Centre launched its book ‘Changing Tides and Changing Ties – Anchoring Asia-Europe Relations in Challenging Times’ on 4 December 2012 at the Orchard Hotel. Ms Grace Fu, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and for the Environment and Water Resources, was the guest-of-honour.

In her speech, the Minister reaffirmed the established relationship and close cooperation between Singapore and Europe, and the role played by organisations like the EU Centre in raising awareness of and interest in Europe among Singaporeans. She expressed her confidence that Europe would recover from the sovereign debt crises well, reminding the audience that Asia also went through a difficult period during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-8. She also said that Singapore looks forward to the successful conclusion of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and expressed her hopes that both sides would eventually be able to conclude a wider ASEAN-EU FTA.

The book is a collection of essays by academics, diplomats, journalists and young Asians and Europeans who have been supportive of the EU Centre’s efforts in bringing about more dialogue and exchange between Asia and Europe. Three contributors to the book – Assoc Prof Barnard Turner (EU Centre), Michael Matthiessen (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy), Asad-ul Iqbal Latif (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies) – spoke at the launch event on a panel led by Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of the EU Centre as well as co-editor of and a contributor to the book. After the presentations, Dr Yeo also called on the other contributors to the book present at the launch to say a few words on their articles.

The relationship between the EU/Europe and Singapore was discussed from historical, cultural, institutional and economic angles, and as to how the regions could continue to learn from each other. In view of the award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, the panellists and members of the audience noted how the lessons of European integration as a peace project is still very powerful and relevant in our current age. The intervention from the audience by Prof Wang Gungwu on the rise of nationalism in Asia as a consequence of the spread and acceptance of the nation-states as the primary political unit in the global system now offered much food for thought.

Speech texts and photos:

- Flyer for the book launch

Text of the speech by Minister Grace Fu at the book launch

Text of presentation by Michael Matthiesen

Photos of the book launch(link to the EU Centre’s Facebook page)

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