The evolution of EU-China relations

By Wolfgang Deckers and Daniel Wagner
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, February 22, 2010
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A common social fabric has served to create a solid foundation from which China and the EU can build a lasting relationship – which includes the key values of dignity of human life and the rule of law – while allowing for different interpretations and standards concerning human rights, democratization, pluralisation, and multilateralism. Both China and the EU:

• Support multilateral organizations and want all countries to abide by international law;

• Are weary of the dominance of the U.S. in global politics;

• Care about sustainable development, the threat of terrorism and the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction; and

• Are basically secular, non-traditional, and recognize the importance of quality of life.

Both also have many converging interests, one of which most important being the promotion of strong and effective multilateral institutions.4

This aspect of the China/EU relationship is also reflective of the different paths the EU and U.S. have taken with respect to managing global affairs. China sees the EU as a counter-weight to the U.S. EU/China Security Cooperation5 shows both as partners comprehensively cooperating in a context where the U.S. continues to attempt to create a world in its image.

The U.S. has maintained a Hobbesian orientation to viewing the world, with the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe, differences over the Kyoto Protocol limiting global warming, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seen as rifts between the EU and U.S. rooted in their de facto rivalry to re-divide the world's strategic resources following the Cold War. The EU no longer needs the U.S. in order to craft its path in international affairs. The EU has made a conscious decision to align itself more closely with China and other countries.

Many believe EU/China relations and European/Chinese influence are only just beginning to take off. The EU is the leading supplier of technology to China, whose investment of 200 million Euros in the development of a competitor to the U.S. Global Positioning System and Galileo navigation satellite system gives China access to advanced technology for its space program development.6

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