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.

Author: Janka Oertel, Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She previously worked as a Senior Fellow in the Asia Programme at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Berlin Office, where she focused on transatlantic China policy, including on emerging technologies, Chinese foreign policy, and security in east Asia. She holds a PhD from the University of Jena. 
And Andrew Small, Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Additionally, he is an associate senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He was based in GMF’s Brussels office for five years, where he established the Asia programme and the Stockholm China Forum, GMF’s biannual China Policy Conference.
Promoting European Strategic Sovereignty in Asia