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The United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union have all embraced the language of economic security. As economic security increasingly gains prominence on the European agenda, this paper aims to clarify a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition – and in most cases, even a national-level definition.

The lack of definition creates misunderstandings and exaggerations. In business circles in Europe, many perceive the economic security agenda as justifying excessive and counterproductive state intervention that distorts free markets and undermines long-term prosperity. At the other extreme, in policy circles, some tend to incorporate many normal issues of economic policy-making into the scope of economic security.

This paper argues that intervention in the name of economic security is intended to be exceptional and targeted. Through a comparative analysis of Asian, European, and American approaches, the paper provides an overview of the scope of economic security policies in different jurisdictions. It shows high convergence regarding supply chain resilience but also highlights a fundamental difference between the advocates of a narrow approach centered on the sources of military power and the proponents of a broader strategic approach focused on competitiveness and technology superiority.

Demystifying Economic Security:  a Framework for the EUDemystifying Economic Security:  a Framework for the EU

Economic Security: 5 Major Strategic Challenges

- Positioning Europe in an international order marked by the return of bilateralism

- Building European cohesion

- Democratizing the practice of economic security

- Making public-private cooperation more fluid

- Addressing blind spots in the European Economic Security Strategy

In Europe, debates regarding economic security are confined within policy and expert circles. The European elections next June provide a unique opportunity to lift economic security out of this technocratic fate. Economic security will be high on the agenda of the next European Commission – public awareness and democratic endorsement would greatly facilitate efficient policy-making.

This paper is part of Institut Montaigne's series on economic security. It aims to bring this strategic issue to the forefront of a wider public debate, reaching citizens and European decision-makers, and to put forward recommendations for an effective European response.

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