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EU Global Strategy

The EU’s Global Strategy and Asia

1 July 2016

The Global Strategy presented by Federica Mogherini to the European Council last week called for a deepening of economic diplomacy and an increased security role for the EU in Asia.

On economic diplomacy the emphasis should be on concluding ambitious free trade agreements with strategic partners such as Japan and India, as well as ASEAN member states, with the goal of an eventual EU-ASEAN agreement. A second economic strand should be ensuring the success of the EU-China Connectivity Platform as well as the ASEM and EU-ASEAN frameworks. The next ASEM summit will be held in a fortnight in Mongolia.

Perhaps most surprising the strategy paper states that the EU should seek to make greater practical contributions to Asian security. Working with partners such as Japan, Korea and Indonesia the EU should focus on stability in Afghanistan, promoting non-proliferation in the Korean peninsula and encouraging the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in East and Southeast Asia. While upholding freedom of navigation and respect for international law, including the Law of the Sea and its arbitration procedures, the EU will help build maritime capacities and support an ASEAN-led regional security architecture. In Central and South Asia the emphasis should be on counter-terrorism, anti-trafficking and migration,

China is singled out as a key partner with the EU wishing to deepen trade and investment on the basis of a level playing field, appropriate intellectual property rights protection, greater cooperation on high-end technology, and dialogue on economic reform, human rights and climate action.

Asian partners should be pleased that the region is not forgotten given the problems in the immediate neighbourhood of the EU. But it will require continued engagement to transform these aspirations into reality.