EU Leaders to Debate Strengthening Competitiveness and Reducing Reliance on China
European Union leaders are set to gather in Granada, Spain on Friday to discuss ways in which the bloc can enhance its competitiveness, lead in green and digital technologies, and decrease its dependence on third countries, notably China. The summit comes at a time when Europe is aiming to reduce its energy dependency and build a more robust economic foundation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
In a letter addressed to the leaders ahead of the summit, European Council President Charles Michel emphasized the need to define a strategy that ensures the EU’s resilience and competitiveness in a challenging geopolitical environment. This meeting in southern Spain will serve as a platform to plan discussions in the coming months on proposals by the European Commission that could lead to tighter controls on the export and outflow of technologies, particularly those with potential military applications.
The European Commission intends to collaborate with its 27 member states to evaluate before the end of this year whether any risks to the bloc’s economic security are associated with advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, and biotechnology. This initiative is part of the European Economic Security Strategy introduced by the Commission in June, which emphasizes strengthening the EU’s internal market, promoting research, forming alliances with reliable partners, and utilizing existing trade defense tools while considering new ones.
A key focus of the summit’s discussions will be the extent to which countries are willing to harmonize their national security policies and transfer certain powers to Brussels. Additionally, participants will deliberate on the level of openness European markets should maintain towards foreign companies. While countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands advocate for more open markets, other nations like France are more inclined to prioritize protecting domestic producers.
The summit in Granada represents an opportune moment for European leaders to formulate a coordinated approach to enhance the EU’s competitiveness and resilience. By reducing dependence on third countries, strengthening its technological capabilities, and fostering research and development, the EU aims to solidify its position as a global leader in various sectors. The outcome of these discussions will shape the EU’s approach to economic security and determine its future trajectory in a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Andrew Heavens)