MADRID – For the first time in centuries, the focus of the global economy is shifting to the East. The United States has commenced its “pivot” to Asia, and its relations with China, in particular, seem constantly to be flirting with Thucydides’s trap, the historical pattern that suggests that a rising power will inevitably collide with a reigning power. But, with the US and China regarding each another warily in the foreground of world affairs, where does Europe fit in?
The European Union is at a critical historical juncture, one that demands its own pivot eastward – a coherent and decisive Asian strategy that builds on Europe’s strengths. Although the EU’s population is only one-fifth the size of that of China and India combined, and its military presence in Asia is minimal, its €12.6 trillion ($16.8 trillion) economy is the world’s largest.