Open Strategic Autonomy in emerging and foundational technologies has rightly been identified as a crucial policy goal in order to preserve the European Union’s capability to act. China is at the centre of this discussion, not least because of increasing geopolitical tensions and China’s growing footprint in digital technologies. What sounds good in abstract terms, however, can be difficult to operationalize. We identify four dimensions of Open Strategic Autonomy: supply chain resilience, national security, values and sustainability, and technological competitiveness. All four dimensions are equally legitimate policy goals but require different policy tools that can at times be conflicting.
The focus of DGAP’s research and consulting on this core theme is the interdependency of technology and foreign policy. Technological innovation — as well as the diffusion and impact of emerging technologies — is always influenced by the social, economic, and (security) policy contexts in which it occurs. At the same time, technologies affect international actors by changing their areas of influence, options for action, and goals. Today, technology not only continues to play a role in determining foreign and security policy in the classical sense, but it also almost always includes an international dimension, for example in its consequences for regulation or global chains of supply and production.