China’s Military Rise and the Implications for European Security

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 11/11/2021 - 11:38

China is following a typical trajectory for rising great powers in terms of its increasing willingness and ability to project power outside its region. What is the People’s Liberation Army capable of today and what will likely be its capabilities by 2035? This new HCSS report makes a broad assessment of China’s military modernization and the implications for the security of European states, providing 20+ policy recommendations to deal with China’s military rise.

It is increasingly difficult to have a dispassionate understanding of Chinese military power. For many, China is already an ideologically incompatible and unstoppable juggernaut; for others, it is unlikely to ever entirely match Western military capabilities. Also, China’s ability to project power within the South China Sea, East China Sea, and Taiwan Strait has been the focus of most analyses. As a result, there is a lack of a comprehensive assessment of the overall development of China’s military capabilities and what these will mean outside of the Western Pacific, especially for European states. 
 
This report addresses the gap by developing a typology based on historical examples of other rising powers. The publication goes in depth on China’s military power, provides an analysis of how it arrived at current capabilities, and the trajectory through 2035. The ultimate objective of this analytical approach is the development of an evidence-based foundation for thinking about the potential consequences of China’s military rise and European and Dutch policy options to address it. 
 
The main finding of the report is that China exhibits almost all of the factors that characteristically drive great power expansion outside of the region. It is following a typical rising great power trajectory in almost all respects, although it is still on an upward path, and is implementing a long-term strategy to be able to project power extra-regionally, which it is expected to be increasingly able to between now and 2035. 

Authors

Joris Teer, Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Tim Sweijs, Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Paul van Hooft, Senior Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Lotje Boswinkel, Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Jack Thompson, Senior Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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Countering hybrid threats

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 14:43

Steps for improving EU-NATO cooperation

In recent years the word ‘hybrid’ has dominated the debates on security and defence. Much has been written about hybrid peace, hybrid conflict and hybrid warfare. Cyber-attacks, disinformation and election interference: these are just three often cited examples of hybrid threats. Western countries are struggling with the question of how to respond to these threats, in particular as military responses alone are insufficient and inappropriate to deal with such challenges. A whole-of-government or even a whole-of-society approach is required, as hybrid threats are targeted at wider governmental infrastructure, at privately-owned entities and at citizens at large or at specific organisations.

Countering hybrid threats has also become a priority on the EU and NATO agendas as both organisations and their member states are confronted with ‘sub-threshold’ or ‘grey zone’ challenges. In 2016, when both organisations agreed on a list of topics for EU-NATO cooperation, countering hybrid threats was selected as one of the important fields of action. Correspondingly, in 2016 and 2017 the EU and NATO drafted at least 22 concrete proposals for enhancing cooperation in the area of countering hybrid threats. Since then, both organisations have issued six progress reports with an overall positive assessment of their cooperation, but it remains unclear what has actually been achieved. This begs the question which concrete results have the EU and NATO produced? This report will analyse the progress made so far and will provide – based on the analysis – ideas and suggestions for further improving EU-NATO cooperation in the area of countering hybrid threats.

Hybrid is one of the new buzzwords, but the question remains what constitutes ‘hybrid threats’. Chapter 2 provides an overview of some of the definitions used. In the subsequent chapter 3 the authors assess the results of EU-NATO cooperation in the field of countering hybrid threats, drawing from that analysis the reasons for ‘what works’ and ‘what does not work’ (or ‘does not work to the full extent’). Based on the outcome of what has been achieved, the fourth chapter points to the potential for ‘what could be further achieved’. Taking into account the (political) limitations of EU-NATO cooperation, this chapter also looks at the potential for alternative cooperation formats. The fifth and final chapter draws conclusions and provides recommendations for action to improve EU-NATO cooperation in countering hybrid threats.

The underlying methodology of this report consists of the combination of analysing the relevant literature and other written, publicly available sources, and conducting interviews with EU and NATO officials. Interviews were conducted in the time period June-August 2021, under the application of the Chatham House Rule.

Authors

Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit and Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute
Sico van der Meer, Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute
Adája Stoetman, Junior Researcher at the Security Unit of the Clingendael Institute

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The RRF as administrative subsidiarity

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 14:33

When the corona crisis broke out, it was clear that eurozone economies were ill prepared for new setbacks. Put differently, the SGP had failed to produce convergence. The RRF offers an opportunity to reconsider the effectiveness of economic governance and to strengthen national ownership for sound economic policies. Despite its potential merits, the RRF was not designed to reinforce national institutions to monitor and correct their own economic policies.

Creating the required ownership for sound economic policies would have demanded empowering the independent National Productivity Boards (NPBs) and Independent Fiscal Institutions (IFIs), and integrating them in a redesigned independent network-based European Fiscal Board (EFB). The failure in 2020 to include the NPBs, IFIs and the EFB also implies a major break with the Fiscal Compact, Two Pack and Six Pack that aimed at empowering national institutions.

The RRF concerns a major financial commitment and could thus have been used as bargaining chip to strengthen the long-term reform measures by insisting on a subsidiarity-based European monitoring and enforcement system, including mutual inspections, and build around the nascent macroeconomic independent national and EU agencies. Such decentralized systems have proved their worth in successful European policy areas such as in monitoring the state of the environment in member states. This will have consequences for the organization of the EU Commission.

Using the lessons from the RRF to (forget to) strengthen national institutions is also relevant for redesigning the SGP. Firstly, redesigning the NPBs, IFIs and EFB will offer a suitable model for monitoring national policies as a replacement of the current centralized control under the SGP by the Commission. Secondly, the future development of the RRF and NGEU can be used as bargaining chip in the negotiations on the SGP.

The review of the SGP will involve adaptation of rules, reinstituting the ESM, and deciding on new emergency funds. The negotiations ahead offer opportunities and leverage for steering towards a pro-active and constructive role for the Netherlands in the elaboration of subsidiarity-based economic governance.

Authors

Adriaan Schout, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute

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European defence: Specialisation by capability groups

Submitted by Inge on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 13:18

In many professions specialisation is regarded as a virtue. In a hospital the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the nurse have specialised skills. Together they engage in teamwork to cure patients. Yet, when it comes to defence, specialisation has a negative connotation. Contrary to the hospital’s operating theatre, dependency on each other’s armed forces is regarded as a serious, if not unacceptable risk, as a country has to be able to defend itself without relying on capabilities to be provided by other states. In reality, however, interdependence is a fact: European countries have relied on the nuclear deterrent of the United States since the 1950s and with regard to conventional forces, no single European country can provide all necessary capabilities. The question is how European interdependence can be made more effective. The answer must partly lie in specialisation.

This policy brief addresses specialisation in security and defence from the perspective of the ‘Team Europe’ approach of distributing tasks and operating with varying coalitions of European countries in order to make the EU (and in this case also NATO) more effective. It presents a model of structuring European armed forces in specialised groups – an idea that has been proposed in a Clingendael report published earlier this year. First, the Policy Brief lays out the playing field by explaining the model of European capability groups. Next, several options for European capability groups will be proposed. It concludes with listing the implications for the Netherlands.

Authors

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

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Red Lines & Baselines

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 10/13/2021 - 10:02

Towards a European Multistakeholder Approach to Counter Disinformation

Disinformation continues to exacerbate existing political polarizations with effects ranging from discrediting measures against the COVID-19 pandemic to inciting mass violence against the very institutions of democracy itself.

Governments, industry and civil society are struggling to find effective ways to respond to this challenge. Disinformation is a field that lacks consensus for a common unilateral solution due to its enormously complex nature, the wide range of actors involved, and the dilemmas it presents across many issues, such as security and human rights.

Nonetheless, ‘rules of the road’ are needed. Given the relative success that cyber norms have had in establishing a common standard of acceptable behavior, this report asks what kind of international norms can be developed to counter disinformation. And finally, how can these norms be advanced?

This report addresses these questions by proposing:

  • a government-to-government “big N Norm” proposal based on noninterference and covert election interference
  • a European industry charter of “small n norms” or standards for social media platforms
  • a European coregulation model to guide the development of these standards from formulation to implementation
  • a Disinformation Sharing and Analysis Center (DISINFO-ISAC) at the European level to operationalize the coregulation model and facilitate threat information sharing and capacity building among social media platforms, and with governments and civil society.

These proposals come at a time when the European self-regulatory approach towards social media companies’ responsibility is shifting towards coregulation. They would therefore inform and strengthen the European Democracy Action Plan and contribute towards a much-needed community of trust in countering disinformation.

The research for and production of this report has been conducted within the PROGRESS research framework agreement. Responsibility for the contents and for the opinions expressed, rests solely with the authors and does not constitute, nor should it be construed as, an endorsement by the Netherlands Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.

Cover image adapted from 7CO’s “Kundgebung (3) Protest against corona measures” and licensed under CS BY 2.0. Some rights reserved.
 

Authors

  • Louk Faesen, Strategic Analyst at the Cyber Policy and Resilience Program of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
  • Alexander Klimburg, Director of the Cyber Policy and Resilience Program at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and director of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace Initiative and Secretariat
  • Simon van Hoeve, Assistant Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
  • Tim Sweijs, Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
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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.

Authors

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)

Contributors

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)

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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.

Authors

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

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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.

Authors

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

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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.

Authors 

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

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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.

Auteurs

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)

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