Over the past ten years, the European Union has started to negotiate and sign Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) with third states, in order to have them participate in the various CSDP missions. The EU has recently signed an FPA with South Korea and has approached Japan to negotiate one, going beyond its usual area of cooperation and engaging partners with which it has very little experience. Yet, the rationale underlying this trend has to be figured out. It appears that what prevails is rather the symbolic value of recognising and being recognised as a relevant international security actor, both for the EU and its Asian partners. It does matter that the EU set a foot on the security map in East Asia, while it is equally important for Japan and South Korea to appear as key security players through partnerships.
Credits: C. Ashton meets ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign the Framework Participation Agreement (EEAS)