The European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) is a leading Think Tank based in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, focusing on EU-Asia relations since its founding in 1989. As a policy research centre, its aim is to promote understanding between the European Union and Asia. In addition, it aims to strengthen ties between Asia and Europe through in-depth, comprehensive research, as well as acting as a knowledge exchange platform and forum for dialogue between policymakers, members of academia and think tanks, civil society and the corporate sector.
Geographically, EIAS focuses on South Asia, North-East Asia, South-East Asia, and Central Asia, covering a wide range of policy domains. By doing so, EIAS seeks to provide knowledge to policy makers in Europe and Asia, as well as on a global scale, offering academic and hands-on expertise to bear on decision-making processes with regard to EU-Asia affairs and developments in Asia, such as free trade and strategic partnership agreements, and other key developments.
By undertaking research projects and providing in-depth analysis and expertise through research papers, newsletters, opinion pieces and other publications, EIAS seeks to act as a focal point for EU-Asia relations and studies in Europe. Essential for EIAS is its keenness to improve understanding of developments in Asia and the appreciation of the importance of the EU’s relations with Asia, by acting as a forum for discussion, organising research and disseminating knowledge.
The research and project activities of EIAS cover a wide range of issues, with a focus on trade, finance, economics, industrial and technological innovation, R&D, CSR, migration, sustainable development, geopolitics, connectivity, and a major emphasis on improving people-to-people ties through education, cultural and other exchanges. In particular, EIAS also focuses in identifying long-term potentials and niche areas for the further development of EU-Asia relations. The institute is committed to disseminating and implementing the results and outcomes of its research activities.
EIAS also organises training programmes and capacity building activities for government officials, civil society and professionals from the corporate sector on EU-Asia relations, with a specific focus on the European institutions and its policies.
Reaching out to the wider public and all stakeholders involved, EIAS regularly organises events, workshops and book talks in cooperation with academic, diplomatic and institutional partners. Speakers often include representatives from Asian missions in Brussels, representatives from the European institutions, officials from non-profits and the corporate sector, academics and journalists, in order to give a broad overview of all relevant actors in EU-Asia relations. Some of the high-level policymakers and academics to have recently spoken at EIAS include Khurram Dastgir Khan, former Commerce Minister of Pakistan; Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal; Asian Development Bank Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada; Ruslan Davletov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Justice; Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Vasantha Senanayake, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vice Minister of National Defence of Viet Nam.
EIAS travels regularly to Asia to participate in summits and high-level conferences, such as the 2017 high-level conference “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity” in Samarkand (Uzbekistan); and the annual meetings of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Think Tanks Forum. In addition, EIAS has participated as independent observers to the 2019 Kazakhstan presidential elections and the 2019 Uzbekistan parliamentary elections.
The EIAS team combines the experience and networks of senior specialists in EU-Asia relations, with the enthusiasm and skills of the coordination team members. EIAS participates in Europe-Asia networks of research and analysis, drawing on a wide network of collaborators and contacts across the EU and Asia, at leading institutions, universities, as well as within Think Tanks and specialised research and policy centres. The EIAS network comprises a rich cross-section of disciplines and sectors, officials and policy makers, civil society actors, scholars and diplomats, corporate and business professionals. For specific research projects, training programmes, conferences and seminars, this constitutes a unique intellectual resource, built up over three decades.
Some of the think tanks and institutions that EIAS has partnered with include the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Belgian China Studies Network, the Antall József Centre, the China Arts Festival in the EU, the University of East Anglia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), etc.