Summary

The South China Sea (SCS) is an area of primary importance for the European Union. It is a vital maritime crossroad between the East and the West, but it is also the setting of one of the world’s most intricate territorial disputes. Yet, there are noteworthy contrasts in regards to the issue among the Union’s member states, and the current EU-level position is the result of a compromise where economic considerations have a greater impact than security ones. As such, while the Union officially maintains neutrality, in practice it implicitly condemns China’s actions; and this stance will hardly hold up in the long term.