EU’s New Economic Security Strategy
Editor's Note: The author is Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.
European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs issued the Joint Communication on European Economic Security Strategy on June 20. EU policy makers labeled it timely policy re-adjustment mitigating socio-economic and geopolitical spillover repercussions of ongoing confrontation at the international stage disturbing economies, communities and industries alike.
Initially, it seems to form a common framework for maintaining and securing economic security through the promotion of the EU's economic base and competitiveness, guarding against risks, and partnering with the broadest possible range of countries to address shared concerns and interests.
But the EU ESS potentially targets China without naming it. Comparative study of EU-USA and EU-China bilateral relations reveals that the EU is directly dependent on the US's geopolitical policies and geostrategic proxies. Thus the EU's perception of China as a threat to the bloc's economic security does not have any justification.
It seems that the EU's new proposed ESS is a replica of Trump's protectionism and imposing of many socio-economic, trade and technological sanctions against China. It is suggested that mutual economic cooperation and economic security should be peacefully pursued so that neither side uses trade or supply chains as a weapon against the other.
Economic security threat tagging will only sow seeds of suspicion leading towards more economic insecurity. The EU proposed ESS tightening export controls and investment screening, and building more non-tariff barriers will be against the true spirits of the world trading system and WTO injunctions. It would also be hurting the growth of EU member states, many of which are still struggling to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and the spillover effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ultimately, it would make the EU economy more stagnant, less open, less secure and less prosperous in days to come. Thus an independent political approach should be the foremost priority of the EU instead of seeking borrowed geopolitical self-destructive recipes from the USA.
In summary, the EU ESS is seemingly an isolated development strategy which is neither integrated nor interactive. The EU's policy notions of "de-couple" from Russia and "de-risk" from China are baseless and would achieve nothing rather more political subjugation of the US in the EU affairs.