Why ASEAN Will Surpass the European Union

Lap Lap
4 min readOct 7, 2023
Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

In today’s dynamic world, regional blocs play a pivotal role in shaping global geopolitics and economics. Among them, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) stand out. Both are conglomerations of multiple nations, but their paths, challenges, and strengths differ significantly.

Introduction: An Overview of ASEAN and the EU

Often seen as one of the most rapidly growing regions, ASEAN is now frequently cited as a potential rival to the EU. Established in 1967, ASEAN was formed with the primary goal of promoting economic growth, social progress, and regional stability. Comprising 10 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, its significance in the global landscape has been growing exponentially.

In contrast, the EU, with its 27 member countries, was birthed in 1993 from the Maastricht Treaty. Its objectives have been broad, from promoting peace, establishing a single market, fostering economic growth to ensuring social and territorial cohesion among its member states.

Population Dynamics: Youth vs. Aging

A striking difference between ASEAN and the EU is their demographic makeup. With a population exceeding 600 million, ASEAN is a bustling hub of youth and potential. This vast, young population, when compared to the EU’s 448 million — which is also aging — offers ASEAN a distinct advantage. The youth signify potential growth, innovation, and adaptability — key drivers for the future economy.

Economic Powerhouses: Current Stature and Growth Trajectories

In 2021, the EU boasted a GDP of around $15.2 trillion, firmly establishing it as the world’s second-largest economy. ASEAN, on the other hand, registered a GDP of $3.2 trillion in the same year. While there’s a considerable gap between the two in terms of economic magnitude, it’s the growth trajectory that’s of keen interest. Between 2000 and 2020, ASEAN showcased an impressive average annual GDP growth rate of 5%, fueled by factors such as foreign investments, burgeoning middle class, and robust domestic consumption.

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Lap Lap

I am a writer for one reasons. It’s what I’m meant to do with my life: create worlds, characters who breathe and live off the page with me.