On 16-17 January 2024 the Clingendael Institute hosted a Track 1.5 European Dialogue on the Indo-Pacific, together with the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, Berlin), and the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS, Paris). This was the seventh edition of this policy-oriented dialogue, established following the launch of the EU Indo-Pacific Strategy in 2021.
Coming just before the upcoming third EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Brussels on 2 February, the dialogue facilitated the exchange of views among a select group of public and private sector representatives and research experts from EU member states with a view to identifying concrete points of action. The focus was on renewed investments, instruments and capacity building through Global Gateway; Defence and Security; and Economic Security and Resilience.
Participants highlighted the point that, as Global Gateway is picking up steam, the EU and Member States can build on flagship projects as they seek to facilitate the green and digital transitions in Indo-Pacific countries. The Copernicus earth observation programme and the Middle Corridor initiative are particularly relevant. Coordination with Development Finance Institutions and the private sector should be a matter of priority.
In the defence domain, various EU member states are planning new frigate missions to the region. These build on previous action that has led to greater willingness of partners in the region to cooperate also in other fields, including on disruptive emerging technologies. Sharing capabilities is an essential complement to military presence.
Non-traditional security – especially economic security – concerns are a growing concern to countries in both Europea and the Indo-Pacific. Participants identified opportunities to act on shared interests to enhance mutual resilience. EU member states’ divergent histories, economic weights, and views on ties with the United States and China can be a source of strength, as EU governments from Western Europe to the Baltics deepen their engagement with even more diverse partners in the Indo-Pacific.
The way ahead
The preservation of the open and rules-based international order and effective multilateralism is essential for Europe’s security and prosperity. The fast-growing Indo-Pacific is a pivotal region in this regard. For Europe to play a meaningful role in that region, EU and Member State initiatives must both be aligned with interests that they share with countries in the Indo-Pacific, and also be practical, realistic, and responsive to local needs.
The Clingendael Institute, SWP and FRS will continue their efforts to contribute to the practical implementation of the EU Indo-Pacific Strategy through policy-oriented publications and by facilitating dialogue between EU Indo-Pacific envoys and other stakeholders.
For more information, please contact Maaike Okano-Heijmans or Sense Hofstede.
For earlier Clingendael-work on the topic, see: