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The coming of AUKUS – awkward for the EU?

Foreign and security policy


The coming of AUKUS – awkward for the EU?


The trilateral security pact announced in September between the US, Australia and the UK, known as AUKUS, is aimed at bolstering efforts to maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region. It includes the supply of nuclear powered submarines to Australia, displacing a previous contract with France, which reacted strongly to it. China claimed that it ‘undermines peace and intensifies the arms race’. The pact comes at a time when the EU is attempting to raise its game in the region. The EU’s new Indo-Pacific strategy was announced at the same time as AUKUS, though there seems to have been little prior coordination between it and the AUKUS parties. The pact may also have impeded progress in the EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement talks, and in the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout caused a further erosion of EU trust in its US ally. This exchange will explore the consequences of this development for the EU’s ambitions in Asia and for its relationship with the US, prospects for EU-Australian relations, notably the FTA, and more generally, whether it will have the effect of strengthening the arguments of those who support greater European strategic autonomy.

Steven Blockmans Steven Blockmans
Steven Blockmans

Director of Research

Speakers list
David Dutton

Deputy Head of the Mission of Australia to the EU, NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg

James Moran (Moderator)

Associate Senior Research Fellow, CEPS

Gabriele Visentin

EEAS special envoy for the Indo-Pacific

Valerie Niquet

Senior Research Fellow, FRS Paris