Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Asia-Europe Relations

Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Asia-Europe Relations



Prof. Yeo Lay Hwee, Honorary Member of IRSEA, analyzes how the recent pandemic could affect the relations between Europe and Asia both bilaterally and multilaterally. She considers that, provided the context of the competing US and China narratives, Southeast Asian countries and ASEAN need to step up their dialogue with the European countries and EU in order to avoid closed blocs. She sees ASEM's role, as a platform bringing together Asia and Europe, as an additional venue for dialogue and cooperation between the two continents.






Dr. Yeo Lay Hwee *


EU Centre, Singapore




We are facing an unprecedented challenge of containing the coronavirus, the fear and uncertainty that it is spreading and the catastrophic economic consequences of the lockdown measures taken by many nations. How we respond to these challenges will shape the future not only of our individual societies and nations but also the wider regional and global order. In the absence of US leadership, what can countries in Europe and Asia and regional organisations like the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) do to rebuild trust and institutions ravaged by the coronavirus? What will be the impact of Covid-19 on the connectivity agenda between Asia and Europe? Are we heading towards de-globalisation and what will be the future of Asia-Europe relations and the respective platforms such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that connect them?







* Dr. Yeo Lay Hwee is Director of the European Union Centre at the Nanyang Technological University. She also holds Adjunct positions at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Singapore Management University, and is a Council Member of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.


Courtesy of the author. Originally published in Yeo, L. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Asia-Europe relations. Asia Eur J 18, 235–238 (2020),(, ). The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or view of IRSEA.