Publications

EU-Sri Lanka Relations: From Cooperation to Partnership

On 13 July 2022, after months of heavy protests, protestors stormed the Sri Lankan presidential palace. In what followed, then president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled and resigned, being promptly replaced by his prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, through a Parliamentary vote. Since the turnover the economic and political situation within Sri Lanka remains delicate. As the island has increasingly become a centre of Sino-Indian rivalries, how can the EU assist its economic and political development and help address the crisis, in order to stabilise the country and avoid it becoming a flashpoint of competing interests.

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Navigating the EU-China Controversy: Unravelling the Hamburg Harbour Investment Saga

On 19 June 2023 all attention turned to the Hamburg harbour in Germany, where the terminal operator “Hamburg Haven and Logistics AG” finalised a significant deal with the Chinese ports operator “Cosco Shipping Ports Limited.” This deal, involving the acquisition of a stake in one of the container terminals, had encountered controversy and public- and political opposition, resulting in a subsequent reduction from the initial 35% stake to a 24.9% for Cosco. The Hamburg harbour case study provides valuable insights into the intricate landscape of international investments and geopolitical considerations. This op-ed will provide a nuanced account of the case study, delving into the key actors, the rationale behind the investment as well as the German federal government’s decision to limit the stake, and tracing the origins of the backlash it faced.

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Building Bridges: Post-Pandemic Opportunities for Cooperating on Sino-EU Infrastructure Initiatives

As the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and the global order is shifting, new opportunities are arising for cooperation and enhanced coordination on international infrastructure development. This EIAS Briefing Paper examines the potential and risks for collaboration between China and Europe on their respective connectivity initiatives, and assesses potential challenges, pitfalls, as well as pathways to accomplish this. This is done by (1) illustrating the potential and risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative; (2) explaining the impacts and changes that have emerged since the pandemic; (3) examining the other actors’ connectivity and infrastructure initiatives, including the EU’s Global Gateway; (4) listing the modes for cooperation; and (5) recommending channels through which to overcome challenges associated with coordination on infrastructure initiatives.

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Germany’s New China Strategy and its Implications for EU-China Relations

On 13 July 2023 Germany released its first-ever China Strategy, of which its inception has been driven by the new geopolitical equilibrium between Berlin and Beijing. China, Germany’s largest trading partner, has become a more assertive actor at the global stage and “as a result of this, we need to change our approach” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared at the presentation of the long-awaited paper.

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Eyes on the Taiwan Strait: Affirming EU-Taiwan Trade Relations Through a Security Lens

In an ever-changing geopolitical climate, trade relations between the EU and Taiwan are being viewed through a microscope. Rising tensions between China and the United States have increasingly made security across the Taiwan Strait a top priority for EU lawmakers, which has become evident in the EU’s 2021 Indo-Pacific Strategy and its implementation. Taiwan is a vital economic trade partner for the EU and by assessing the history, trends, and current status of the trade relationship between the two partners, the EU can do better to economically engage with Taiwan in the future. Remaining a partner in East Asia in promoting shared values such as “democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law”, Taiwan and the EU are looking for channels to affirm their trade relationship in an increasingly delicate geopolitical climate.

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EU Security in Southeast Asia: Insights into the 2023 Shangri-La Dialogue

2-4 June 2023 saw the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore host its nineteenth Shangri-La Dialogue, having been held annually since 2002, besides its two-year pause due to the pandemic (2020 and 2021). The Dialogue is an inter-governmental security conference that has manifested to become one of the most important independent forums for the exchange of views through talks and bi-lateral agreements by international policy decision-makers.

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Towards the Middle Income Status in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is on track to graduate from the United Nations’ least developed country (LDC) status. The country’s remarkable growth is worthy of a closer analysis regarding the drivers and rationale behind national policies and attracting foreign investments.

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Thailand’s Recent Election Results: A “Thai-breaker” or “Thai-Maker” for its Future Relationship with the EU?

On 14 May 2023, Thailand saw almost 40 million people head to the polls to vote in its first national election post-COVID, the largest turnout of any Thai election thus far. This election can be considered as one of the most significant political events in Thailand since the pro-democracy movement of the mid-1970s. Over 70 parties competed within the election, with over half of the votes going to two opposition parties: Move Forward and Pheu Thai. However, Thailand has found itself in a political stalemate as it still awaits the final outcome of the May election.

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What’s Next for EU-Japan Security Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific?

December 2022 was a historic month for Japan’s foreign affairs. By targeting an increase of defence spending from 1% of its annual budget to 2% over the next 5 years and publishing new defence and security strategies, Japan is reacting to Asia’s new regional security environment. With new defence capabilities and a growing willingness to cooperate with “like-minded countries”, it is thereby making headway to become a stronger security actor in the region.

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