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Europe Divided
EU Split on South China Sea

The European Union struggled to agree on a joint statement in response to the South China Sea, Euractiv reports:

Diplomats said today [14 July] that the effort to adopt a common statement following the 12 July ruling were likely to fail, as at least two countries had opposed the draft declaration. The draft statement says that the ruling of the Hague court should be respected.

“It is about upholding international law,” a diplomat said.


Another diplomat commented, “Some countries don’t want to annoy China.” This may be true for Greece and Hungary, but Croatia has its own reasons to keep its distance from rulings on arbitral tribunals, in light of its own conflict with Slovenia, over Piran Bay.

The Chinese Shipping company Cosco Holding Co. is expected to invest more than half a billion euros in the Greek Port of Piraeus within the next five years. The deal, transferring a 67% stake in the port to Cosco, has been years in the making and was approved by a large majority in Greece’s parliament two weeks ago.

For those wondering why China keeps on building seemingly without much hesitation, the inability of the West to show a united front is surely something to note. It isn’t just the dithering of the United States that emboldens Beijing—Europe’s even greater lack of resolve matters too.

Alas, this is the sorry state of the European Union these days. Angling for trade deals and investments, government officials and business leaders are willing to kowtow to Beijing and Moscow even when it requires abandoning the principles—freedom of navigation, rule of law—of liberal world order.

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  • Beauceron

    It’s all about making money for the elite.
    They don’t really like their countries much, or the stupid citizens. What’s there to unite and defend?

  • Anthony

    Adam Smith: Theory of Moral Sentiments and Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations. Both may lend insight to “alas”.

  • longlance

    The Mighty Dragon is ascendant, even as the flaccid Eagle flaps & falters. Go, Team China!

    • Pete

      China is the mouse that tries to roar.

  • Nevis07

    Breaking news, Turkish military claim to have taken over governance in a coup in Turkey… Well this could mix things up a bit.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The biggest problem is that America has the worst President in History. Any halfway decent President would use China’s belligerence to negotiate a very favorable to America, economic and military alliance with the Asian Countries being threatened. As for Europe, it can’t even support NATO as required, how is it going to support those opposing China halfway around the world? Besides the Euro and the EU are in the process of disintegrating, and their focus is all on internal turmoil.

  • Dhako

    As I have said it many times in right here of TAI, those in the west who were hoping that ASEAN states who share so much with China as well as their very economical destiny will start a war of ideological bend against China at the behest of some sort of American’s pivot, should now see how they were barking on the wrong tree. Moreover, there is no one – I mean no one – in the EU who will side with America openly against China in any political or strategical confrontation in the South East Asia.

    Hence, all these gin up talk about Hague’s tribunal verdict in so far as South China Sea (SCS) is concern, is so much of a dead letter, and no nation in that region or in the EU is going to be picking up the cudgel against China on the basis of whatever they have ruled in Hague.

    Furthermore, even the Philippines will simply hope that China do not take a harsh position on the back of this verdict, since the very economical development of Philippines, going forward, will largely depend on how generous or charitable the Chinese state may be feeling towards the Philippines. In particularly ever since the previous president of the Philippines, Mr Aquino, have decided to take up a “pivotal dalliance” with US against China, and therefore have initiated this tribunal proceedings against China back in 2013.

    So, in effect, I am afraid, those in the Belt-way’s Strategical theoreticians (or in Washington in general) who were hoping that the rest of the South East Asia region and the EU in particularly, will decidedly favor a more hawkish “tilt” against China (or at any rate towards Washington’s view of how to deal with China) on the back of this tendentious ruling from Hague, will forever be disappointed.

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