EU's Connectivity Strategy with Japan
Norms and Standards towards Sustainability
The European Union has committed itself to cooperating with like-minded partners to promote a holistic and sustainable approach to connectivity – in fiscal, economic, social and environmental terms. Boosting connectivity across continents on the one hand requires vast investments. This financing need becomes particularly salient for the EU’s Strategy when put into perspective with competing connectivity schemes, such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative. On the other hand, connectivity is about setting norms and standards. As the world is getting ever more interconnected, governments have to set the legal and technical terms for future transport, energy, digital and people-to-people connectivity. In the future, political influence will to a large degree depend on an international actor’s ability to define and promote these standards. As the world’s biggest single market and transparent rule-making multilateral body, it is imperative for the EU to gain a leading role in this dimension of the global connectivity arena.
In this session of the Indo-Pacific Roundtable Series, we pose the following questions:
Where do we see the importance of norms and standards at work in specific connectivity projects? To what extent is the EU’s Connectivity Strategy centred on the promotion of norms and standards? In September 2019, the EU launched its “Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure” with Japan. What advantages does this partnership bring and which other schemes could the EU Strategy cooperate with? Is the promise of being part of a global community of shared norms and standards an attractive “selling point” for the EU’s Connectivity Strategy? If not, what would need to change about the Strategy and its communication? Can the EU hold true on its promise of being a driving force in the setting of norms and standards for future connectivity?