STEAR x NUS
Comparative Democracy in Europe and Southeast Asia
The European Union's democratic governance has been seen as an example for other countries to follow, and it has become a defining feature of its identity and interactions with the wider world. However, recent democratic backsliding, rising populism, and disunity at home have led to growing criticisms of hypocrisy and annoyance. This has resulted in Europe's monopoly on the truth no longer being accepted by the majority of countries, and calls for Europe's acceptance of this fact are increasing. While some countries have perverted the concept of democracy, the majority do not contest European conceptions of democracy but desire Western recognition of their own historical experiences and circumstances. This issue is particularly poignant in South and Southeast Asia, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been compared to the European Union but criticized for its inability to strengthen democracy. The publication hopes to create a mutual understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of European and Southeast Asian democratic institutions and encourage engagement with the future of democratic governance worldwide.
The fact that democracy was not mentioned in the EU-ASEAN Joint Leaders Statement following the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in December 2022 may suggest how divisive the topic of democratic governance has become.