Is FTA for ‘Up Closer and Personal’? Reflections on Media and Public Views on the EU in Korea

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Abstract

Due to its geopolitical situation, Korea started its relationship with the EU quite later than with the US, China, Japan and Russia. However, the EU-Korea relationship has grown “slowly but steadily”. The studies on the perception of the EU have been conducted since the 2000s. Korean scholars have been interested in finding out the Korean perception of the EU and have participated in the multiannual international research projects from the beginning. Their extensive data on Korean media coverage on the EU and public opinion surveys present the nature and characteristics of the EU imagery in Korea. EU-Korea relationship has seen a turning point by the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two parties. The EU became more exposed to the Korean media on this occasion, and accordingly, the Korean public now considers the EU as a more important partner than before. Through the detailed explanation and analysis of the existing perception studies in this paper, one can understand how the EU perception has been shaped and changed in Korea over time. One of the major findings is that the visibility of the EU has been enhanced in Korea for sure, but the images have been still seriously prejudiced as an ‘economic powerhouse’. Further studies are necessary to examine how to widen the scope of mutual understanding in different fields.

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Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

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