Commission reviews relations with #China, proposes 10 actions

| March 15, 2019

Against the backdrop of China’s growing economic power and political influence, the European Commission and the High Representative review European Union-China relations and the related opportunities and challenges. With today’s Joint Communication on ‘EU-China – A strategic outlook‘, the European Commission and the High Representative aim to start a discussion to refine Europe’s approach to be more realistic, assertive and multi-faceted.

In particular, they are setting out 10 concrete actions for EU Heads of State or Government to discuss and endorse at the European Council of 21 March. These actions are formulated in the context of relations with China, but some of them relate to the EU’s global competitiveness and security.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, said: “China is a Strategic Partner of the European Union. We pursue strong bilateral and multilateral co-operation on files where we share interests, from trade to connectivity, from the JCPOA to climate change. And we are willing to keep engaging robustly where our policies differ or compete. This is the aim of the 10 actions that we are proposing to strengthen our relations with China, in a spirit of mutual respect.”

Vice President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: “EU and China are strategic economic partners as well as competitors. Our economic relationship can be hugely mutually beneficial if competition is fair and trade and investment relations are reciprocal. With this Communication we make concrete proposals on how the EU can act to strengthen its competitiveness, ensure more reciprocity and level playing field, and protect its market economy from possible distortions.”

In general, the EU’s response should pursue three objectives: First, based on clearly defined interests and principles, the EU should deepen its engagement with China to promote common interests at global level. Then, the EU should robustly seek more balanced and reciprocal conditions governing the economic relationship. Finally, in order to maintain its prosperity, values and social model over the long term, there are areas where the EU itself needs to adapt to changing economic realities and strengthen its own domestic policies and industrial base. More information is available in this press release.

A factsheet on EU-China relations is also available online.

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