Survey: EU’s influence surging in Southeast Asia

A survey has found that more people in Southeast Asia would prefer to engage with the EU, amid US-China rivalry in the region. In particular, Cambodians viewed the bloc favorably, Malaysians and Indonesians not so much.

The European Union’s image in Southeast Asia has improved over the past year, including its reputation as a defender of free trade and international law, according to The State of Southeast Asia 2023 survey report published late this week

Brussels has cemented its place as the preferred “third party” that Southeast Asian nations want to engage with amid fractious US-China superpower rivalry in the region, while trust in the EU as an economic and political actor is also growing, the report said.

Almost 43% of the region’s respondents preferred the EU as an alternative partner, well ahead of Japan, the UK and India.

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