Silk Road Headlines_27th September, 2019

In a blog published by the MERICS institute in Berlin, guest author Miguel Otero-Iglesias presents four options for the European Union to position itself with regard to the geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States. Option 1: join forces with the US. Option 2: align with China. Option 3: become divided. Option 4: European strategic autonomy. His advice to Spain, the country where he is based, is to work with France and Germany (while including smaller countries) towards European strategic autonomy while keeping options 1 and 2 open. In his blog he notes that Sino-US geopolitical competition is a defining question in international relations not just at this time, but for decades to come [What shall we do with China?].

Otero-Iglesias’ concise and straightforward assessment relates, among other things, to China’s Belt and Road initiative and the European response, the EU Connectivity strategy. On 27 September 2019 the Europa Connectivity Forum will take place in Brussels, which will be opened jointly by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese prime-minster Shinzo Abe. A key question for European politicians and policymakers is how the EU can respond to BRI in ways that, in the long term, contribute to European strategic autonomy while keeping open the possibility of cooperation with both the US and China.

Frans-Paul van der Putten