It is time for the EU to step up its strategic engagement in and with the Indo-Pacific. As a concept, the Indo Pacific is much en vogue these days. Policy-makers, diplomats, strategists and think tank analysts are all debating what the future holds for this dynamic region. I welcome this debate and believe that the EU has both a big stakes in the region and a big contribution to make.
The Indo Pacific is as much a strategic space as a geographical reality. As EU, we define it as stretching from East Africa to the Pacific Island States. It is becoming the world’s centre of gravity, both in geo-economic and geo-political terms.
Let me give some figures to make this point: the Indo-Pacific creates 60% of global GDP and two-thirds of global growth. It is the second largest destination for EU exports and home to four out of the top ten EU trading partners. Put differently, we are also an actor of the Indo-Pacific development.
And the future will only further increase the significance of the region. By 2030, the overwhelming majority (90%) of the 2.4 billion new members of the middle class will come from this region.