The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Integration, Internal Dynamics and External Relations

23-07-2013

Throughout its evolution, ASEAN has consistently maintained its attachment to the full respect of national sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, which translates into consensual decision-making, political rather than legally-binding agreements and the lack of sanctions for non-compliance. A major breakthrough in terms of institutionalisation came about with the signing of the ASEAN Charter of 2007, which has enhanced ASEAN’s standing as a rule-based organisation and approximated it somewhat to structures typical of the EU. Unfortunately, the persistence of consensual decision-making and non-confrontational habits has slowed down some of ASEAN’s integration projects and hindered the development of a human rights mechanism. Moreover the ASEAN integration project is imperilled by a number of structural factors, currently aggravated by the divisive influence of China in the economic and security field.

Throughout its evolution, ASEAN has consistently maintained its attachment to the full respect of national sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, which translates into consensual decision-making, political rather than legally-binding agreements and the lack of sanctions for non-compliance. A major breakthrough in terms of institutionalisation came about with the signing of the ASEAN Charter of 2007, which has enhanced ASEAN’s standing as a rule-based organisation and approximated it somewhat to structures typical of the EU. Unfortunately, the persistence of consensual decision-making and non-confrontational habits has slowed down some of ASEAN’s integration projects and hindered the development of a human rights mechanism. Moreover the ASEAN integration project is imperilled by a number of structural factors, currently aggravated by the divisive influence of China in the economic and security field.

Autore esterno

Clara PORTELA (Singapore Management University, Singapore)