ASEAN must not follow example of failing EU

Kavi Chongkittavorn hopes Asean can emulate the European Union (EU), which won the 2012 Nobel.

Kavi Chongkittavorn hopes Asean can emulate the European Union (EU), which won the 2012 Nobel. The EU started as the European Economic Community (EEC) with the Treaty of Rome, 1957. The UK agreed to membership of the EEC in 1973 as it removed all tariff barriers between member countries, creating a free-trade area.

The subsequent Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties changed the EEC into an increasingly political union while introducing a common currency, the euro. This undemocratic development of a European republic, centrally controlled from Brussels and Strasbourg by unelected bureaucrats, has caused the greatest unrest on the continent since World War II. Recent history clearly shows this to be true. The award of the Nobel peace prize to the EU was derided as ludicrous. Considering the many cases involving abuse of human rights in Europe, it flew in the face of reason and common sense.

Peace throughout Europe has been maintained not by the EEC or the political EU but by Nato, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which most European countries signed following WWII.

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU has devalued the prize and is hardly something to which Asean should aspire. In fact emulating the EU could only be to the detriment of all Asean member countries. As the current situation in Europe shows, political union is not the way forward, though a free-trade area would do much economically for the whole of Southeast Asia.

Peace and political stability in the area would be more secure if all member counties were truly democratically governed. Unfortunately, such a stable form of governance across the region is not yet a reality. Even in Thailand, democracy is still a long way off.

When all Southeast Asian countries become politically stable and develop a sound trading basis within the Asian Economic Community, the region will have achieved a great deal, which will benefit the world as a whole. Asean could become the model for regional integration, overshadowing the failing EU.