Because of the increasingly important strategic interconnection of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, the geostrategic concept of the Indo-Pacific is rapidly gaining traction. Important resident powers such as Japan, the United States and Australia have embraced the Indo-Pacific and released national strategic visions. European nations play a less critical role in the region and Europe has mostly remained at the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific debate. However, in the light of their strong economic interests in the region and interdependence with regional economies, the European Union’s (EU) member states may feel compelled to formulate national strategies, accounting for a changed strategic environment; perhaps this may even lead to a common EU/European approach.
Thus far, France and Germany are the only two European nations to publish a national Indo-Pacific strategy. This RSIS webinar will introduce and discuss the respective German and French strategies, their rationale, opportunities and limitations. The webinar will also discuss whether the two existing white papers can translate into a Franco-German push to drive a common EU Indo-Pacific strategy. A specific EU perspective will be discussed, too, including the possibility to frame this within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Last but not least, although no longer a member state, it seems unlikely that any European Indo-Pacific cooperation can be meaningful without British participation. And although the United Kingdom has not released an official Indo-Pacific strategy of its own, Britain shares other European nations’ economic interest in the region. Moreover, more than any other European nation, the UK maintains close historical ties to the region and can build on strong existing diplomatic and defence networks.
The topics to be discussed are:
- “Excess or Lack of Arrogance? French Presence and Vision in Indo-Pacific”
- “Germany’s Indo-Pacific Guidelines: Old Wine in New Bottles?”
- “The UK in the Indo-Pacific: Aspirations and Obstacles”
- “EU in the Info-Pacific: Towards a Common EU Approach?”
About the Speakers
Eric Frécon is an instructor at the SUSS (Singapore University of Social Sciences), a lecturer at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam/Defence Academy, and a research consultant with the Stable Seas program (USA). He is an adjunct fellow with IRASEC (French Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia, Bangkok) and the French Naval Academy, where he taught for six years. He also worked as a coordinator of the Southeast Asia Observatory of Asia Centre (Paris, 2012-2019) and as a Research Fellow at RSIS (2008-2011). He completed his PhD in Sciences Po (Paris) in 2007.
Frederick Kliem is a Visiting Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Frederick’s research interests include regional integration and multilateralism in Asia and Europe. At the Centre for Multilateralism Studies, he studies ASEAN, Southeast Asia and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific, as well as the European Union and comparative regionalism. In addition, Frederick is a freelance Consultant and Key Expert on ASEAN-EU matters to the EU consortia in Brussels. Before joining RSIS, Frederick was a Senior Programme Manager at the political foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Singapore.
Ian Storey is a Senior Fellow and an editor of Contemporary Southeast Asia at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. At ISEAS he specializes in Southeast Asia’s relations with the major powers and maritime security, especially the South China Sea dispute.
Christian E. Rieck is an Assistant Professor at the Chair of War Studies at the University of Potsdam. A Senior Analyst for Regional Powers and Regional Integration at the Global Governance Institute in Brussels, he also teaches Comparative Regionalism and IR at Humboldt University in Berlin and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid. Before joining UP, Christian worked as a desk officer and policy consultant for Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Berlin and as a Research Fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies in Hamburg.