Updated: Mar 31
Report by Conor Nolan
For our sixth webinar, we had the pleasure of hosting Francesco Sisci, who provided insight into the position of the European Union between the US and China. Sisci is a senior researcher associated with Renmin University, Beijing. He is also a commentator for the Asia Times where he contributes with his column, Sinograph. Furthermore, he frequently commentates on international affairs for CCTV.
Perhaps the most pressing take away from Sisci’s webinar is his beliefs regarding European agency. For Sisci, the European Union has had decades to establish itself as a larger player geopolitically speaking in the global arena but has failed to do so. As a result, it would be unproductive to view the European Union in the same vein as one views the US and China with regards to influence and power in global affairs. More importantly, he appears to view the EU as an entity that is somewhat beholden to the US. The example he cites most fervently being NATO and the bargaining chip that gives the US to hold over the EU on issues pertaining to China.
Additionally, Sisci stressed the importance of politics relative to trade as a key argument as to why he believes the EU will edge towards the US. In fact, he believes that no member state would choose a closer alliance with China over the US. He believes that China is arguably the most prominent player in global trade and hence, the EU views China as a vital trade partner. Despite this, if China is to entice the EU away from the US, it would need to look beyond merely trade and offer concessions in the political sphere. In essence, he argues that political reform in China is necessary if they are to attract the EU to a more prominent partnership that undermines US influence on the European continent.
Sisci also responded to many eager questions about the EU’s position between China and the US, where he expanded upon why, in this current moment, member states would choose the US over China, as well as commenting on the fragmentation between individual member states and the EU as a broader organisation with regards to negotiating with the US and China.
If you are eager to find out more about the interesting insights Sisci offers as well as his responses to the excellent range of questions fielded to him, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.