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EU-Indonesia Relations: No Expectations-Capability Gap?


This chapter has as its starting point Christopher Hill’s postulate of an ‘expectations-capability gap’ in the EU’s bilateral relations with other polities (both nation states and regional entities). It is argued that no such gap exists in the EU-Indonesia asymmetrical bilateral relationship. This lack is not due to heightened capabilities but, rather, low expectations. The capacities employed are thus commensurate with the latter. The chapter seeks to explore the reasons for these low expectations and minimal capabilities by briefly exploring the colonial experience with a minor European power and, above all, by the negative traces of decolonisation in the immediate post-Revolution period (1949–1967). It then explores how two irritants during the New Order period (1967–1998), namely the situation in Indonesian occupied East Timor and the separatist conflict in Aceh, meant that EU-relations with the world’s largest Muslim nation were maintained at a low level. Moreover, the EU’s approach to Indonesia during this period was inscribed within wider EU-ASEAN inter-regional relations. Only since the fall of the Suharto regime — and the experience of Indonesia’s extraordinary on-going democratic transition of the last 14 years — has there been a strengthening of bilateral relations. These relations, however, remain essentially economic driven by Indonesia’s progressive rise to BRIC status.
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hal-03398530 , version 1 (22-10-2021)



David, Frederic Camroux. EU-Indonesia Relations: No Expectations-Capability Gap?. Thomas Christiansen; Emil Kirchner; Philomena Murray. The Palgrave Handbook of EU-Asia Relations, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.554 - 570, 2013, 9780230378704. ⟨hal-03398530⟩
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