The “Sinatra Doctrine”: Europe’s Position vis-à-vis Great Power Competition between China and the USA

12 May 2021
Event location


As the confrontational first high-level meeting between the Biden administration and Chinese leadership has shown, the strategic rivalry between China and the United States will continue to define the global foreign policy environment for the foreseeable future. One of the most important challenges for an EU that seeks to further develop its strategic autonomy is positioning itself in relation to these key trading partners and competitors. To this end, Europe has begun to pursue a policy based on two pillars: continuing cooperation with China to address global challenges and strengthening its sovereignty by protecting crucial sectors of its economy.

While the differences that rocked the EU-US relationship during the Trump years seem to have abated, there is no denying the fact that the United States will continue to gradually focus more attention on Asia. At the same time Europe’s perceptions of China have changed from a purely mercantilist perspective to a growing wariness as Beijing flexes its muscles at home, in its immediate neighbourhood, and even on Europe’s doorstep. The controversy around the recently negotiated EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment that might still get scrapped by the European Parliament demonstrates the potential consequences of this transformation of EU views.

Please join us in discussing the topic with a panel of American, European, and Chinese experts moderated by Thomas Reichart, Former ZDF Correspondent in Beijing -, author of the book Das Feuer des Drachen: Was Chinesen antreibt, wo sie dominieren und warum sie über uns lachen:

Prof. Da Wei, Deputy Director, Department of International Relations, Center for International Strategy and Security, Tsinghua University

Dr. Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Petra Sigmund, Director General for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, German Federal Foreign Office

Didi Kirsten Tatlow, Senior Fellow Asia Program, DGAP

The event will be held in English on Zoom. Participants will be able to contribute via audio throughout the discussion. You will find information related to data processing at

Please note that this event will be recorded.

For any questions, please contact Yulia Loeva (