Is EU-China Relation on the Verge of deterioration?

The EU still sees China as a threat and not an opportunity. Achieving common interests in a multipolar world, some European countries have even spoken of “globalization with Chinese characteristics”. Although China is one of the countries dependent on left-wing ideology, it has managed to associate itself with the international system and emerge as a tremendous economic and political EU-China Relation 

Europe does not want to have to choose between America and China, preferring a situation in which Brussels cooperates with Washington on issues of common concern related to Beijing while at the same time seeking closer commercial ties with China to support Europe’s export-driven economy. China’s influence within the European Union is to the extent that it has removed it from a coherent bloc in decision-making, especially regarding China. The European Union should gradually see China as a strategic partner in international issues and view China as both an opportunity and a threat and not just a mere threat.

EU-China Relation: Great Global Players

With a population of over 500 million people, a high GDP, a single currency and extensive global trade, the European Union is one of the most prominent players on the world stage. On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China, with a population of about one billion and three hundred million, the world’s first exporter with significant economic growth and having a permanent seat on the Security Council, has a significant global role and position.

The European Union and China have been central players in international politics in recent decades. This process has been more serious, especially after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Although China is one of the countries dependent on left-wing ideology, it has managed to associate itself with the international system and emerge as a tremendous economic and political power in the world arena. Along with China, the European Union, as the most powerful institution based on the alliance between governments in the last half century, has influenced both the poles of power governing international politics and the vision of global policy researchers.

Dynamic & Complementary Economics

The People’s Republic of China and the European Union have significant differences of opinion regarding issues such as the government’s position in the Chinese economy and human rights. Still, Governments must acknowledge that the two sides have dynamic and complementary economies that account for the world’s highest percentage of foreign integration. It is worth saying that the cooperation between the two sides, which has been more than any other factor in the field of trade and direct economic investment, has, in turn, caused the type of relations between the United States and the European Union to be primarily influenced by the economic ties between Beijing and the European Union.

EU’s New Policy

EU ministers have proposed taking a tougher stance on China. According to a document released by the EU’s foreign service, the bloc should work closely with the United States, strengthen cyber defences, diversify its supply chain using countries other than China, and improve its relations with other Indo-Oceania powers. Citing the proposed policy of the European Union, the Financial Times wrote: China has become a more robust global competitor for the European Union, the United States and other like-minded partners. It is imperative to evaluate how to respond to current and upcoming challenges, which are likely to increase the divergence between China’s political choices and positions and the European Union.


From Economic to Political Competition

A senior EU official told the Financial Times: This assessment confirms that China will not change. In short, we must move towards the logic of all-around competition, economically and politically. According to the report, the proposed text, referring to the worsening of EU-China relations since the agreed policy towards China in 2019, emphasizes that the decline in the level of ties due to trade disputes, sanctions and a series of failed measures to find areas For joint agreement, it was among the policies adopted in 2019. European officials claim that since the formation of the European Union’s policy towards Beijing in 2019, China’s support for Russia in the Ukraine war, its threats against Taiwan, its human rights approach in Hong Kong and the way it treats the Uyghur minority are essential developments. Another EU official said that now is the time to evaluate and understand whether our policy is correct.

Geopolitical Challenge

In his speech at the Communist Party Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out the successes of Beijing’s foreign policy in confronting the protectionism and bullying of Western countries and warned against foreign interference in Taiwan. The EU proposal also suggests that the EU’s current policy of seeing China as a “partner-rival-systemic adversary” will change. The talks of the European Union took place while the United States, by publishing its national security strategy, called China the most critical geopolitical challenge.


A Threat to the EU

The economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic was short-lived. The global economy is again amidst a recession, the worst since any recovery since the 1970s. There is a growing understanding in Europe that China’s growing economy can be seen from two angles. From a political point of view, China’s economy can be considered a threat due to its extensive influence and continuous interaction with Russia. Ironically, a purely economic approach to China’s continued growth ends up doing the opposite: China’s economy—and its prosperity thanks to Russian supply—could be seen as a lifeline for Europe.

A moderate Relationship is Needed

After the second day of the European Union summit in Brussels, EU leaders warned about a possible confrontation with China and the collapse of relations. Still, they noted that they would defend the principles and independence of their vote in ties with Beijing.


The European Union, torn between the desire to access China’s vast markets and the condemnation of the country’s human rights violations in the Xinjiang region and aggressive policies in Hong Kong and Taiwan, has tried to formulate a unified position towards Beijing. EU Council President Charles Michel said: “The talks of the EU leaders are in line with determination and a clear sign to avoid naivety; at the same time, it is important to mention that we do not want to get involved in the logic of systematic confrontation with China.” In his speech, Michel stressed the need to adopt a specific model for development in the European Union at a time of intensifying competition between China and the United States. He also said about the European Union’s response to China’s human rights violations: “We will always be steadfast in defending principles, democracy and fundamental freedoms.”


Is China Influential in the New World Order?

Since 2019, the European Union has officially considered China a partner, an economic opponent, and a systematic competitor. The European Union’s foreign policy states that Beijing should now be seen primarily as a competitor trying to promote an “alternative vision of the world order.” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said that Beijing is planning and implementing a mission to consolidate its dominance in East Asia and expand its sphere of influence at the global level. He also warned about close ties between China and Russia, despite international condemnation of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. Ursula von der Leyen continued in this context: “Current developments and events in the world will affect the relations between the European Union and China.”

The EU is also keen to ensure that it does not fall into the trap of becoming dependent on China for raw materials and critical technologies and avoid a repeat of the tensions it has had with Russia since the EU imposed sanctions. Ursula von der Leyen mentioned these concerns and said that it is obvious that we have to be very careful about dependencies, and we have already taken the necessary advice.


No Ideological Imposition

Responding to the remarks of the EU leaders, the spokesperson of the Chinese delegation to the European Union said that the “deeply ideological statements” reflect the opinions of some people who “rely on the political thinking of the European Union and the bloc of their countries and are proud of their values ​​and they are not looking for anything other than proving their absolute truth and imposing their ideology on others.” The spokesperson of the Chinese delegation also added in his statement: “China is as opposed to ideological imposition as Europe and asks everyone to be alert to the growing warnings about ideological confrontation, which may eventually lead to conflict or even a clash of civilizations.” The Chinese representative still responded to the words of his European counterparts. He said, “China is committed to peace, friendship and cooperation with other countries; we believe that in our relations with the European Union, we are partners and partners instead of competitors; the cooperation between China and the European Union is beyond the competition between us”.


Strategic Errors

While the European Union is seeking to present a united face against China, this issue is distorted due to the different economic interests of its members. French President Emmanuel Macron called for a more even playing field between Beijing and the European Union, saying: “We have made strategic mistakes in the past by selling infrastructure to China.” German Chancellor Olaf Schultz declared that “there is much opportunity for cooperation; “Nobody can claim that we can no longer invest in China or not import from China.”


Final Word

While China still has a long way to becoming a hegemon, on the other hand, the threatening economic policies of the United States for China and the European Union have caused concern for both, and China is trying to have the Union by its side in this trade war. For this purpose, the European Union should gradually see China as a strategic partner in international issues and view China as both an opportunity and a threat, not just a mere threat. It is considered a threat to its cohesion. Still, from another point of view, the benefits derived from China’s investment and development projects in North Africa, Central Asia and the Near East are an opportunity for the Union from a security point of view, primarily due to the effect of reducing the wave of migration from these areas to Europe.

Latest news

Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here