This book investigates how Europe should position itself in an era of growing Chinese-American rivalry.

The volume explores the contemporary relationship and ongoing dynamics between three of the most powerful players in today’s international relations - the USA, China and Europe. It claims that the intensifying antagonism between Washington and Beijing requires a paradigm shift in European strategic thinking, and takes a trilateral perspective in analysing key issue areas, such as trade, technology, investment, climate change, the BRI, sub-national contacts, maritime security and nuclear non-proliferation. Using this analysis, the work seeks to offer original policy recommendations that respond to a number of dilemmas Europe can no longer avoid, including the trade-off between European interests and values in a harsher global environment, the question of whether Europe should align with one of the two superpowers, Europe’s military dependence on a US pivoting to the Asia-Pacific, and possible trade-offs between global and regional governance efforts. The key finding is that Europe must follow a much more pragmatic and independent approach to its foreign and security affairs.

This book will be of much interest to students of EU policy, foreign policy, Chinese politics, US politics and IR in general.

chapter 1|20 pages


BySebastian Biba, Reinhard Wolf

part I|52 pages

Europe’s agency in the international system

chapter 2|15 pages

New US-China bipolar system

What role for Europe in security and defence?
ByØystein Tunsjø

chapter 3|16 pages

Europe in between US-Chinese strategic competition

The role of a middle power
ByLiselotte Odgaard

chapter 4|19 pages

The subnational dimension of the European Union’s relations with China

A solution for tough times?
ByTomasz Kamiński, Joanna Ciesielska-Klikowska

part II|48 pages

Geostrategic issues and Europe’s security

chapter 5|17 pages

The EU’s Asia security policy and the US factor

Challenges and opportunities
ByEmil Kirchner

chapter 6|15 pages

Europe and the South China Sea

Challenges, constraints and options
ByMichael Paul

chapter 7|14 pages

Europe and the North Korea conundrum

Navigating the China‒South Korea‒United States triangle
ByRamon Pacheco Pardo

part III|68 pages

Geo-economic issues and Europe’s welfare

chapter 8|15 pages

Europe’s economic and technological relationship with the United States and China

A difficult balancing act
ByMargot Schüller

chapter 9|17 pages

European and American approaches towards Chinese foreign direct investment in post-COVID times

Opportunities, challenges and policy responses
ByPhilippe Le Corre

chapter 10|15 pages

Europe and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)

Infrastructure and connectivity
ByClaude Zanardi

chapter 11|19 pages

EU-China cooperation amidst fragmented climate leadership 1

ByMario Esteban, Lara Lázaro Touza

part IV|21 pages

Concluding remarks

chapter 12|19 pages

Sustaining the European project in an age of Sino-American confrontation

An end to complacency
BySebastian Biba, Reinhard Wolf