A new EU-China strategy

Source: EU Parliament

Through this report, the European Parliament intends to formulate a set of recommendations for the Commission, HR/VP and Council in the conduct of the EU-China relations. The core message of the report is that the EU should be more assertive and united in its relation with China in order to uphold its core values. This report is also influenced by the current state of play of EU-China relations characterised by Chinese sanctions against European entities and politicians, the pending ratification of the investment agreement, the pursuit of market and governance distorting practices by China. 

The report prepared by Hilde Vautmanns (RE, BE) identifies China as a strategic rival and demands a tougher EU stance regarding China. There is a broad agreement in the AFET Committee on the issues posed by Chinese expansionist policies, state-driven economic practices and human infringement. Parties tend to disagree however on the means and degree of assertiveness the EU should demonstrate. For instance, the possible suspension of the CAI ratification, or the use of economic leverages to enforce human rights are not supported unanimously. The EP INTA Committee will bring specific elements regarding the EU-China trade and investment relations in its opinion.

The rapporteur has built the report to include recommendations built around the following pillars:

  • Open dialogue on global challenges (i.e. climate change and digitisation);
  • Leveraging economic incentives such as the CAI to improve the respect of human rights;
  • The assessments of threats posed by the Belt and Road Initiative and the lack of European unity;
  • Addressing China with other partners and in international fora; 
  • The development of EU’s open strategic autonomy in relation to technologies and raw materials; 
  • The defence of EU values.

The discussions on this report are likely to relate to other ongoing legislative proceedings, including on the regulation on foreign subsidies, the CAI ratification, the International Procurement Instrument or the upcoming sustainable corporate governance framework. This report should also feed into the EU-China Leader’s Meeting scheduled to take place in 2021.


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