The continuing rise of China and the onset of the pandemic have made asserting European Strategic Sovereignty in Asia ever more complex and difficult. Both developments mean that economics, security, and technology issues in Asia are becoming ever more intertwined.
On the one hand this leaves Europe exposed, its dependencies on China have grown, and the security framework that has enabled Europe’s burgeoning economic ties with the wider region is under strain.
Yet as other Asian powers, and the United States under the new Biden administration, increasingly assess the emerging strategic competition through a geo-economic prism, Europe’s leverage and its opportunities for partnership have also grown.
Europe should upgrade its security activities, and seize the moment to push multilateral institutions up the agenda. But it will be Europe’s connectivity agenda that provides the golden thread running through its foreign policy and its environmental, industrial, trade, development, values, and security objectives in the region.