Image credit: Herman Van Rompuy, Flickr
In a new JOINT Research Paper, Research Fellow Zachary Paikin examines the EU’s role in the South China Sea, arguing it could “nurture” the Union’s strategic autonomy by establishing a “delineated hard security role in the South China Sea while maintaining a degree of distance from the U.S. approach towards China and the Indo-Pacific.”
Given the EU’s limited hard-security role in the SCS and longer-term aspirations of actorness in the Indo-Pacific, the most difficult task in buttressing the resilience of this strategy will involve preserving space, however small, for the EU to come across as an independent actor rather than an appendage of the United States. Yet given the desire of some EU member states not to upset the United States due to their overriding concern with Russian aggression, as well as hardening attitudes towards China overall, any aspiration to carve out a distinctly autonomous role would run not just against the herculean challenge of building capacities but against the much harder wall of political dissent inside the EU.
Dr. Zachary Paikin (@zpaikin) is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a researcher in EU foreign policy at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, as well as Senior Visiting Fellow at the Global Policy Institute in London, UK.