Surveillance capitalism and digital authoritarianism have become facts of life in recent years. Set against the US–China trade–tech–data standoff, the European Union (EU) and its member states are navigating their course of open strategic autonomy, assessing how to position themselves in the digital age. Synergies and coordination with like-minded partners – including the United States (US) and countries in the Indo-Pacific – seem inevitable.
This raises the question of to what extent Taiwan can be a partner for closer cooperation on digital matters. Can the EU, and specifically the Netherlands, and Taiwan move beyond diverging priorities, and promote a human-centred approach to the digital domain by leveraging their economic, scientific and cultural ties?
In answering this question, this Clingendael Report examines the approaches of both sides to strengthening resilient societies, so-called ‘Big Tech’ regulation and digital development assistance. Findings suggest that while the underlying strategic interests and goals of Taiwan and Europe on digital connectivity align, priorities and strengths diverge. China’s growing influence and assertive behaviour pose a substantial challenge to both sides’ open, inclusive democracies, economic competitiveness and standard-setting power. As Europe and Taiwan improve policies domestically, as well as in and with third countries, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, they can benefit from each other’s complementary skills in specific digitalisation and digital connectivity domains.