A persistent concern raised by member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is that Timor-Leste’s readiness for membership is not enough, as Dili, the smallest economy in Southeast Asia, may not be able to sign and implement key commitments, nor to participate in all ASEAN institutions and work programmes. Since its formal request for membership in 2011, Timor-Leste has recently stepped up its efforts for ASEAN membership, with the initial technical support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and, particularly, the enhanced support of the Asian Development Bank. In 2019, there has been a step change in momentum towards accession, with clear ASEAN statements signalling progress in this regard. The first ever ASEAN fact-finding mission to Timor-Leste to assess the country’s potential for membership concluded successfully in September 2019. Two more fact-finding missions are planned for 2020. We assess in this paper Timor-Leste’s readiness for membership in the three pillars of the ASEAN community: economic, socio-cultural, and political security. In Ready or not? The ultimate push of Timor-Leste to join ASEAN, we assess how recent developments address the concerns historically raised by some ASEAN member states about Timor-Leste’s membership. We conclude that the Cambodian and, particularly, the Indonesian presidencies of the ASEAN in 2022 and 2023 could be an important landmark for Timor-Leste’s accession to the Association.
Martínez-Galán, E. (2021). ‘Ready or not? The ultimate push of Timor-Leste to join ASEAN’. Chapter 4B, pp. 405-435 in Leandro, F.J.B.S., dos Santos, P.P. and Li, Y. (eds) China and Portuguese-speaking Small Island States: From sporadic bilateral exchanges to a comprehensive multilateral platform. City University of Macau. Macao. China. ISBN 978-99981-956-3-9
The emergence of new state donors from Latin America, Middle East and Asia as key development partners offering alternative models of development cooperation has had a significant impact on the workings of the international development cooperation arena (Hackenesch & Janus, 2013). The main distinction between the traditional and emerging donors has been the fact that, unlike the former, the latter present themselves as interested parties in what is described to be a mutually beneficial relationship with their development partner countries. In general, these emerging donors have been less eager to respect the dominant OECD-DAC normative discourse on quantity and quality of aid to focus more on mutual economic gains from the relationship. In exchange for aid from these emerging donors, beneficiary countries have been less constrained by political conditionalities and less subjected to scrutiny or oversight on macroeconomic policies. The EU Agenda for Change adopted in 2011 is the basis of the current EU´s development policy and aims at responding to the changes undergoing in the international development arena. One of the key principles and policy priorities of this agenda is differentiation which manifests the EU intention to increasingly provide aid only to Low Income countries (LICs). Beyond Aid: How trade interests Trumps EU-ASEAN development cooperation will critically analyse to what extent this shift to differentiation is shaping the relations between the EU and ASEAN. It will argue that EU relations with ASEAN have always been differentiated from other developing countries as they have been subordinated to trade interests rather than development goals.
Mah, Luís (2018). “Beyond Aid: How trade interests Trumps EU-ASEAN development cooperation”. Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão – CEsA/ CSG – Documentos de Trabalho nº 169/2018.