Images of the EU beyond its Borders: Issue-Specific and Regional Perceptions of European Union Power and Leadership


  • Our team of co-authors would like to acknowledge financial support provided to the project on EU external perceptions by the Jean Monnet Lifelong Learning Programme of the DG for Education and Culture, Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) in Singapore and New Zealand European Union Centres Network (NZ EUCN). We also would like to acknowledge researchers of our project who collected data in the Pacific, Africa and Southeast Asia: Dr Lorenzo Fioramonti (South Africa), Dr Patrick Kimingyui (Kenya), Dr Jessica Bain and Dr Malakai Koloamatangi (the Pacific), as well as teams of researchers from a number of leading Southeast Asian universities: Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), National University of Singapore (Singapore), Ateneo de Manila University (the Philippines), Vietnam National University (Vietnam) and University of Malaya (Malaysia).


Natalia Chaban

National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE)

University of Canterbury

KD-04 Kirkwood Village

Private Bag 4800

8042 Canterbury

New Zealand



This article systematically investigates both regional and issue-specific variation in external perceptions of the European Union (EU) as a global power and an international leader. While most studies on EU external perceptions focus on a one-dimensional vision of EU leadership and/or great-powerness, it is argued here that these perceptions are highly issue-specific, multilayered and differentiating. This study draws on data collected through elite interviews in three regions: the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa. The findings make a contribution to the debate on the perception of third states on the international role of the EU.