The Indo-Pacific concepts of France, Germany and the Netherlands in comparison : implications and challenges for the EU

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Series Details 2021/19, Number 19
Publication Date 2021
ISBN 978-92-9084-974-2
ISSN 2467-4540
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The Indo-Pacific as a geo-economic and geostrategic concept has at least partially replaced the term Asia-Pacific over the last decade, with Japan, Australia, the United States and India each adopting and promoting their own respective vision. Before 2020, France was the only EU country to develop an Indo-Pacific strategy, based mainly on the fact that it sees itself as a resident power in the region. Germany and the Netherlands reformulated their perspectives of the area in September and November 2020. Together, the three member states have initiated a debate at the EU level with the goal to adopt an EU position on the Indo-Pacific. Despite some notable differences in the three approaches, they agree on the region’s economic and strategic importance for Europe and share fundamental interests and objectives. A major challenge for the national strategies as well as a possible future EU positioning on the Indo-Pacific will be how to address China and its role within this new framework. In this context, cooperation with the U.S., which is barely mentioned in the documents, also needs to be thought through. The comprehensiveness especially of the German Policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific raises the (not at all new) question concerning which objectives will be given priority if hard choices are to be made. The biggest challenge will be to allocate the necessary financial and human resources to fulfil expectations that have been created among partners in the Indo-Pacific.

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