Taming Techno-Nationalism: A Policy Agenda

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 11:41

As recognition of the economic, military, and strategic relevance of access to and control over the distribution of modern technologies has grown, so, too, has the prevalence of the sentiment that a nation’s technological innovation and capabilities are directly linked to its national security, economic prosperity, and social stability.

This is creating incentives for states to treat access to sensitive technologies as a zero-sum game and to pursue policies to expand national control over and international influence through sensitive technologies. The “geopoliticization” of sensitive technologies – even those which, on first sight, appear banal and/or consumer-focused in nature – are on clear display in debates surrounding European telecom providers’ use of Huawei technologies within their 5G networks, fresh discussions regarding Johnson & Johnson’s purchase of Crucell, and the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) response to NVIDIA’s proposed acquisition of ARM.

Sensitive technologies are, in other words, growing to be more and more closely associated with “European strategic autonomy,” the notion that European Member States should be able to make consequential decisions without being constrained by their relationships with countries like the US or China.

But how do techno-nationalists operate, what can the Netherlands do to protect its sizeable R&D infrastructure from their advances, and to what degree should The Hague look to Brussels for guidance and support?

In collaboration with the Egmont Institute’s Tobias Gehrke, Hugo van Manen, Jack Thompson, and Tim Sweijs outline a policy agenda for countering techno-nationalism in HCSS’ most recent publication; Taming Techno-Nationalism: A Policy Agenda, commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. The high-level recommendations are as follows:

  • Strengthen critical infrastructure protections.
  • Make strategic use of public spending.
  • Incentivize increased private spending.
  • Develop a more comprehensive deterrence posture.
  • Recognize the relevance of EU-level cooperation.


Hugo van Manen, Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Tobias Gehrke, Research Fellow in the Europe in the World Programme at the Egmont Institute
Jack Thompson, Senior Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Tim Sweijs, Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)


Rob de Wijk, Founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Benedetta Girardi, Assistant Analyst at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Sneha Mahapatra, Assistant Analyst at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies (HCSS)


The future of European intelligence cooperation

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:33

Sharing the burden, sharing the secrets

This report discusses the opportunities for enhanced European intelligence cooperation in light of the key challenges facing Europe over the next ten years, as were identified in the Strategic Monitor 2020-2021, Geopolitical Genesis: Dutch Foreign and Security Policy in a Post-COVID World. In light of these challenges and the need to realise European strategic autonomy and deliver on the goals of the EU Strategic Compass for security and defence, closer intelligence and security cooperation by Europe is required.

However, intelligence activities lie at the very heart of national sovereignty, and can perhaps be considered to be the hardest hurdle to cross. Nevertheless, over the years the EU has developed several institutions to facilitate intelligence sharing between its member states and several agencies have been established that collect, analyse and operationalise intelligence in view of the key security challenges.

Within this institutional context, this report assesses the opportunities for enhanced European intelligence cooperation. It argues that there is ample opportunity to increase both the scope and depth of European intelligence cooperation in the years to come. Moreover, the Netherlands can and indeed should play an active role in the development of enhanced intelligence cooperation in and of Europe by making effective use of the presence of three important factors that can help drive European cooperation further: internal demand, external pressure and cooperative momentum.


Danny Pronk, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute
Claire Korteweg, former research intern at the Clingendael Institute


Europe's Indo-Pacific embrace

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:25

Global partnerships for regional resilience

This report has previously been published by Perth USAsia Centre and Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Senior Research Fellow Maaike Okano-Heijmans has contributed chapter 4 on the Dutch approach to the Indo-Pacific. 

The Indo-Pacific’s centrality to 21st century geopolitics has long been recognised by those in the region. However, as the Indo-Pacific evolves economically and strategically, its importance is increasingly recognised by those outside the region, whose desires for global prosperity and security demand closer engagement with Indo-Pacific dynamics. Foremost amongst these are European governments.

Understanding how European and Indo-Pacific actors will interact with the region is vital to all concerned. There is a need for increased knowledge of where European and Indo-Pacific interests are best-placed to cooperate with one another, on which issues, and through which channels.

This report seeks to locate Europe within the 21st Century Indo-Pacific, analysing how European governments can most effectively engage with Indo-Pacific partners. It highlights the Indo-Pacific approaches of five European powers: the EU, France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK, and how these approaches intersect with those of Japan, Australia, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the United States.

Download report.


Maaike Okano-Heijmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute


Promoting open and inclusive connectivity

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 09/16/2021 - 18:03

The case for digital development cooperation

This paper has previously been published by Elsevier.

A focus on digital development cooperation as a cornerstone in Europe’s digital connectivity agenda offers opportunities to act on long-term challenges and addresses several key priorities identified by the European Commission in third countries. This article develops an argument for strengthening Europe’s agenda on digital development cooperation, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region. After first conceptualizing digital development cooperation, we argue that the key reasons for the EU to step up its digital development efforts in the Indo-Pacific region are the societal impact of disruptive technologies; the power shift towards the Indo-Pacific; the expanding clout of the Chinese Digital Silk Road; and the implications of the US-China tech conflict. The EU’s 2030 Digital Compass provides an ideal framework to envision the digital development cooperation initiatives of European and Asian players. The EU can benefit from cooperation and coordination with like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific.

Read full article here.


Maaike Okano-Heijmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute


Gedeeld belang bij circulaire migratie

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 06/24/2021 - 14:29

Naar duurzame partnerschappen

Migratie is de belangrijkste bron van bevolkingsgroei in Nederland. De Nederlandse bevolking groeide door immigratie met ruim 67.000 mensen in 2020. De meesten van hen kwamen uit andere Europese landen. Door de pandemie is het aantal immigranten overigens fors minder dan in 2019. Maar ondanks corona zal bevolkingsgroei door immigratie weer toenemen, verwacht het CBS.

Uitdaging voor het nieuwe kabinet

Immigratie staat hoog op de agenda in de politiek, maar ook in de samenleving speelt het onderwerp. Migratiedruk op Europese buitengrenzen vanuit het Midden-Oosten en Afrika vinden Nederlanders de grootste bron van zorg voor de veiligheid van Europa, stelde Clingendael vast in een representatief opinieonderzoek afgelopen januari. Tegelijkertijd wordt er, als gevolg van de coronapandemie, rekening gehouden met een economische crisis in Afrika, met nieuwe grote aantallen illegale migranten als gevolg.

Om meer controle te krijgen over migratie heeft Nederland belang bij goede migratiesamenwerking met landen van herkomst en transit. Zij spelen een cruciale rol in het tegengaan van illegale migratie en bij terugkeer van uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers.

Circulaire migratie kan aan zo’n migratiepartnerschap bijdragen. Het concept: mensen verlaten voor een tijdelijke periode het land van herkomst, om in een ander land te gaan werken (of studeren) in sectoren waar arbeidstekorten zijn. Migranten verwerven inkomen en nieuwe kennis, die ze na een bepaalde periode weer mee terug naar het thuisland nemen. Zo blijft de herkomstlanden brain drain bespaard.

De komst van circulaire migranten kan werkgevers met vacatures in het ontvangende land uit de brand helpen. In sectoren met arbeidsmarkttekorten kunnen meerjarige relaties ontstaan tussen werkgever en migrant. De migrant komt dan elk jaar een periode bij die werkgever werken. Dat is ook in het belang van de migrant: een meerjarig perspectief op werk. Soms kan dit in de tussentijd worden gecombineerd met werkzaamheden voor de Nederlandse werkgever vanuit het herkomstland. Bijvoorbeeld met werken op afstand in de ICT-sector.

Clingendael-directeur Monika Sie:

Nederland vraagt aan een land als Tunesië om illegale migratie tegen te houden. Dan helpt het wel als de Tunesische regering tegen haar bevolking kan zeggen dat het weliswaar meewerkt aan de Europese agenda van Fort Europa, maar in ruil daarvoor een poort voor legale migratie heeft gerealiseerd”.

Doordat het land van herkomst de uitvalsbasis blijft bij circulaire migratie biedt het voor Nederland ook een antwoord op zorgen over bevolkingsgroei en de gevolgen hiervan voor het Nederlandse woningentekort en het draagvermogen van de verzorgingsstaat.

Kansen voor de glastuinbouw en de ICT-sector

Tegen deze achtergrond deed Clingendael onderzoek naar de mogelijkheden voor circulaire migratie tussen Nederland en Ethiopië, Nigeria en Tunesië, in de glastuinbouw en ICT-sector. Sectoren waarin in Nederland, ondanks de gevolgen van de coronacrisis, arbeidstekorten zijn en die opkomend zijn in deze Afrikaanse landen. Dit rapport gaat over nut, mogelijkheden en moeilijkheden, en voorwaarden voor effectieve legale circulaire migratieprogramma’s vanuit derde landen in Afrika naar Nederland.

Lees rapport.

Bekijk de video explainer met Monika Sie Dhian Ho.


Monika Sie Dhian Ho (algemeen directeur, Instituut Clingendael)

Nienke van Heukelingen (onderzoeker, Instituut Clingendael)

Nadia van de Weem (stagiair, Instituut Clingendael)

Anne van Mulligen (oud-onderzoeker bij Instituut Clingendael en onderzoeker bij Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law (CePTL) VU University & Amsterdam Centre for International Law (ACIL), University of Amsterdam)

Romain Lepla (oud-stagiair, Instituut Clingendael)


The EU’s Strategic Compass for security and defence

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 06/10/2021 - 11:23

The European Union (EU) is developing a Strategic Compass for security and defence, to be ready by March 2022. The first semester of 2021 is the phase of the ‘strategic dialogue’ with the member states and institutions of the EU, including the involvement of think tanks and other stakeholders. Commissioned by the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Clingendael Institute delivers its contribution to the strategic dialogue on the Strategic Compass by focussing on defining more precisely the military level of ambition of the EU and what it implies for capability development and the relationship with NATO.

The EU faces a wider set of challenges and threats than ever before. In the global power rivalry between China, Russia and the United States, it is ‘Europe’ that runs the danger of becoming irrelevant and the object of great power actions rather than being a global actor. The arc of instability around Europe is unlikely to turn into an arc of stability. The challenges posed by state and non-state actors – the latter in particular in the southern neighbourhood – require the EU to respond to external conflicts and crises, to support partners to provide security for their own population and to protect the Union and its citizens – the three strategic priorities for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as defined five years ago in the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence. While the EU has made progress in many areas – trade policies, partnerships, civilian crisis management – its military tools have remained weak as a result of a lack of political will and the absence of adequate military means.

The Strategic Compass offers the opportunity to close the gap between ‘too much rhetoric’ and ‘too little action’ that have characterised the EU’s security and defence efforts so far. In recent years, new instruments have been created to improve European defence cooperation – such as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) – but these are what they are: without strategic direction instruments tend to become bureaucratic tools rather than the rails on which the train travels to its destination. In the Strategic Compass the EU has to define more precisely its military level of ambition and what it implies for capability development and partnerships. In short, the report tries to answer two questions: (1) what should the EU be able to do, and (2) what is needed to get there? The relationship with NATO has to be taken into account in answering these key questions.

Download report.

Watch our video explainer


Dick Zandee (Head of Security Unit and Senior Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute)

Bob Deen (Senior Research Fellow, Coordinator Russia & Eastern Europe Centre, the Clingendael Institute)

Adája Stoetman (Junior Researcher, the Clingendael Institute)


Towards a Space Security Strategy

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 03/31/2021 - 13:59

The world is entering a new and highly consequential phase of the Space Age.

This brings with it many threats and opportunities. The Netherlands boasts a productive and innovative space industry. Globally, launch costs have been reduced dramatically. Yet this democratization of space access also brings with it many challenges. Increased access means increased congestion, risk of collisions, space debris and a growing dependence by the Netherlands on space-based infrastructure.

The extra-terrestrial realm contains vast quantities of raw materials which bring the prospect of enormous economic gains. The increasing number of actors operating in space raises the scope for geopolitical competition. This in turn has led major powers to begin militarizing and weaponizing space in support of terrestrial warfighting capabilities on Earth, while moving towards the establishment of extra-terrestrial footholds.

Our new Strategic Alert delves into the challenges and opportunities of the Space Age and how the Netherlands, and the world, should deal with them.

Authors: Hugo van Manen, Tim Sweijs, Patrick Bolder, with contributions from Jens Emmers and Benedetta Girardi.


Will the European hero please stand up?

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 03/25/2021 - 14:49

An essay on European global narrative strategy

A more strategic European narrative is called for. That is, European leaders should more actively engage with the stories they tell and are being told about Europe’s place in the world. This essay problematises the EU global narrative in order to define ways it can be made more competitive in today’s geopolitical discursive arena. It juxtaposes aspects of the European narrative with the discursive moves of China, in order to synthesise elements of a new global narrative for Europe that provides a common sense of purpose with third countries, and that is both competitive and timely. It answers three distinct questions:

  • How does the European global narrative currently function?
  • Which aspects of the European global narrative are put under pressure by its discursive competition with China?
  • And how can EU institutions and European member states contribute to a stronger global narrative strategy?

This essay argues that European leaders should embrace the language of particularism, letting go of universalist value narratives. The European Way of Life is a potentially powerful but underused narrative, through which European leaders can more forcefully explain the existential worth of human rights, democracy and rule of law to Europe. It must dare to speak the language of history, using the ancient civilisational roots of European society as a treasured resource for projecting powerful stories. This means casting as our hero ‘Europe’ the ancient civilisation, rather than the EU as a young political project. The costs of strategic autonomy ought to be explained as the collective sacrifices needed to protect European values. It would be wise to recognise that European society itself is a hero forged out of hegemonic struggle in order to overcome it. It has little need of enemies, but must emphasise time and again the costs of giving in to our own vices.

Read the full essay (longread). 


Ties Dams (Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute)

Monika Sie Dhian Ho (General Director, the Clingendael Institute)


A new momentum for EU-Turkey cooperation on migration

Submitted by Inge on Tue, 03/16/2021 - 14:23

This policy brief considers how to move forward with the (financial element of the) EU-Turkey statement agreed in 2016, under which the first tranche of 3 billion euros will end mid-2021. In order not to reverse the progress achieved and to continue the work on improving the resilience of the 4.1 million refugees in Turkey, there is an urgent need for the European Union and Turkey to agree on a new financial framework. One that builds on the current, generally successful framework – the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRiT) – but which would divide the burden between Turkey and the EU more equally. Both blocs would, moreover, do well to look into the possibilities of extending the area of cooperation to Idlib. In that area, which is currently under Turkey’s military control, almost three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently lack adequate shelter and essentials, which could potentially lead to various displacement scenarios. Neither of those decisions will be easy and will require serious support from all EU member states, but the fact is Turkey remains essential in pursuing the EU’s core interest: preventing another refugee flow into Europe.

Read policy brief



Nienke van Heukelingen (Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute)


Strategic Monitor 2020-2021

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 14:53

Geopolitical Genesis 

Dutch Foreign and Security Policy in a Post-COVID World

Onderzoekers Danny Pronk en Jack Thompson van Instituut Clingendael en het Den Haag Centrum voor Strategische Studies (HCSS) overhandigden vandaag de Strategische Monitor “Geopolitical Genesis: Dutch Foreign and Security Policy in a Post-COVID World” aan de minister van Defensie, Ank Bijleveld.

Met hun jaarlijkse rapport geven de beide denktanks inzicht in de trends en ontwikkelingen in de wereldpolitiek. Het belangrijkste thema van dit rapport is dat dit hét moment is voor de Europese Unie om zijn status als ontluikende wereldmacht te verstevigen en dat Nederland hierbij een actieve rol moet vervullen.

Er komt geen “return to normal” van de trans-Atlantische betrekkingen, ook niet onder President Biden, zo stellen de onderzoekers. Europa zal meer verantwoordelijkheid moeten nemen voor haar eigen defensie en een onafhankelijk buitenlands beleid moeten voeren. Nederland kan hier een overbruggende rol spelen, maar dat vraagt om meer Europese samenwerking. Dit is nodig om de invloed van een relatief klein land als Nederland te kunnen vergroten, maar ook om één vuist te kunnen vormen tegen de verdeel- en heerstactieken van China. Terwijl China een belangrijke economische partner blijft, is het nodig om met een verenigd Europees antwoord te komen op de steeds agressievere houding van zowel China als Rusland.

De Strategische Monitor geeft aanbevelingen voor het Nederlandse buitenland- en veiligheidsbeleid om deze gevarieerde uitdagingen het hoofd te bieden.

  1. Een meer assertieve geopolitieke opstelling om de Nederlandse én Europese belangen en waarden te beschermen.
  2. Een meer assertieve en vooral uniforme houding ten opzichte van China.
  3. Een meer uitgekiende en ook in dit geval een uniforme benadering voor de omgang met Rusland.
  4. Nederland moet vanwege de historisch nauwe banden met de VS ernaar streven een trans-Atlantische brugfunctie te vervullen op specifieke beleidsterreinen. Ook moet het binnen de NAVO streven naar een gelijkwaardiger lastenverdeling met de VS en meer doen om de vrede en veiligheid in de eigen regio te bevorderen.
  5. Nederland moet strategisch samenwerken met andere belangrijke middenmachten, zowel op het gebied van handel als veiligheid.
  6. De ontwikkeling van een aanpak is nodig voor de omgang met niet-statelijke actoren. Daarin wordt een effectief engagement gekoppeld aan ontmoediging van de onvermijdelijke keerzijden van samenwerking met niet-statelijke actoren die uit eigenbelang handelen. Als laatste, en misschien wel belangrijkste, moet Nederland voortvarend de samenwerking aangaan met andere actoren om de gevolgen van de wereldwijde klimaatverandering aan te pakken.

Deze aanbevelingen zijn niet uitputtend maar bieden een globale blauwdruk voor het toekomstige Nederlandse buitenland- en veiligheidsbeleid, zowel om de status van de EU als ontluikende wereldmacht te helpen verstevigen als om de complexe uitdagingen van nu en de komende tien jaar doeltreffend te kunnen aanpakken. Vanuit het gezichtspunt van dit rapport is dat onontbeerlijk in de geopolitieke genesis van Nederland, aldus de onderzoekers.

Download de Monitor 2020-2021.



Danny Pronk (Research Fellow, Instituut Clingendael)

Jack Thompson  (Den Haag Centrum voor Strategische Studies (HCSS))