The new EU-China strategy, adopted by the European Parliament

Through this report (view the report HERE), the European Parliament formulated 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 was that the EU should be more assertive and united in its relation with China in order to uphold its core values. This report was also influenced by the 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) identified China as a strategic rival and demands a tougher EU stance towards China. The report was discussed and adopted on 14 and 15 September 2021 respectively during the plenary session, where MEPs raised concerns of human rights violations in China, unfair trading practices and called for an import ban of Chinese-originated products made with forced labour as well as for an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative. MEPs also confirmed the standstill of the CAI until China's sanctions were lifted but recognised the importance to cooperate with China on common global issues such as climate change. In parallel, the INTA Committee, as Committee for Opinion, called for reducing the EU's dependence on China for critical raw materials and a more balanced trade and investment relationship.

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 procedure 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. 

Source: EU Parliament

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