Indo-Pacific: a region of key strategic significance for the EU
The Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a report on Tuesday, reflecting how the EU should protect its interests and work more closely with its partners in the Indo-Pacific.
In a report on the EU and the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, MEPs underlined the critical importance of preserving peace, stability and the freedom of navigation in this region of growing geopolitical and economic significance.
The region, which is home to 60% of the world’s population and seven G20 members, is a key global actor and home to increasingly important political, trade and security partners for the EU, stress MEPs, while welcoming the recently adopted joint communication on an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific–
The report invites the EU to pursue fruitful bilateral relations with partners and countries in the region, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and African Indo-Pacific countries. It should also work closely with other liberal democracies and historical allies, such as NATO, the US and the UK. The EU should fully exploit its position and reputation as a credible, global actor for peace amid the growing geopolitical competition between global and regional powers in the region, urge MEPs.
The AUKUS pact and the QUAD dialogue are identified in the report as important elements of the security architecture in the Indo-Pacific and MEPs underline that effective regional security requires an open and inclusive dialogue involving relevant regional, extra-regional and international actors.
Impact of Russian war on Ukraine
The Russian war against Ukraine is having a profound and lasting impact on international relations and, as a result, the EU must further consolidate its international engagements, in particular in the Indo-Pacific, say MEPs.
They are greatly concerned that the Chinese leadership has not yet clearly condemned the illegal war in Ukraine. They call on the Chinese leadership to use its close contacts with the Russian president to urge him to immediately stop this violent war and remove all troops from Ukrainian territory.
Capability development in the maritime field
In line with the Strategic Compass, which identifies the Indo-Pacific as a region of key strategic interest, the EU needs to further increase its joint efforts in capability development, especially in the maritime field, in order to be a credible security actor in the region, says the report.
MEPs also welcome the fact that the EU plans to intensify its dialogues with regional partners on security and defence, including counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, non-proliferation and disarmament, hybrid threats and maritime security.
The rapporteur David McAllister (EPP, DE) said: “The geopolitical shift towards the Indo-Pacific poses new challenges for the European Union, in terms of strategic stability, security and prosperity. Our European approach to the Indo-Pacific region should be pragmatic, flexible and inclusive. Diversifying relations, deepening and forging new partnerships in the Indo-Pacific is key to preserving peace and stability in the region.”
The report was adopted by56 votes in favour, 8 against and 12 abstentions.