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EU-China relations: Taking stock after the 2020 EU-China Summit

30-06-2020

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations ...

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations, against the backdrop of the wide-ranging fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, growing United States-China strategic rivalry, rapid geopolitical power shifts and the erosion of multilateralism. Looking at EU-China relations through the lens of the 2019 EU-China strategic outlook, China is seen as being at once a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. China has been a cooperation and negotiating partner for the EU in several fields where interests have converged. Nonetheless, the different norms and values underlying the EU and Chinese political and economic systems have made cooperation challenging. Shared objectives do not necessarily lead to the same approaches to pursuing them. Economic competition has become fiercer in China, in the EU and in third markets. As the Chinese leadership shows growing assertiveness in disseminating alternative models of governance – at international, regional and bilateral levels, China is also acting as a systemic rival, on an increasing number of issues. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing political and economic challenges in EU-China relations. It has exposed the EU's over-reliance on China for the supply of strategic goods and also China's confrontational 'Wolf Warrior diplomacy', which has involved the use of a wide range of tools, including disinformation campaigns, political influence and economic coercion, in an attempt to alter narratives critical of China's management of the crisis. It has also clearly demonstrated the need for a 'more robust' EU policy on China.

Hongkong: Ein von Peking aufgezwungenes Sicherheitsgesetz?

11-06-2020

Am 28. Mai 2020 ermächtigte der Nationale Volkskongress der Volksrepublik China seinen Ständigen Ausschuss, ein Gesetz über die nationale Sicherheit für Hongkong zu verabschieden, wobei das Parlament der Stadt, der Legislativrat, umgangen wurde. Das Gesetz, das voraussichtlich vor der für September 2020 geplanten Parlamentswahl in Hongkong in Kraft treten wird, dürfte einen Wendepunkt für die weitreichende Autonomie der Stadt und ein vorzeitiges Auslaufen des Modells „Ein Land, zwei Systeme“ darstellen ...

Am 28. Mai 2020 ermächtigte der Nationale Volkskongress der Volksrepublik China seinen Ständigen Ausschuss, ein Gesetz über die nationale Sicherheit für Hongkong zu verabschieden, wobei das Parlament der Stadt, der Legislativrat, umgangen wurde. Das Gesetz, das voraussichtlich vor der für September 2020 geplanten Parlamentswahl in Hongkong in Kraft treten wird, dürfte einen Wendepunkt für die weitreichende Autonomie der Stadt und ein vorzeitiges Auslaufen des Modells „Ein Land, zwei Systeme“ darstellen, das ab 1997 für 50 Jahre gelten sollte. Das Europäische Parlament wird voraussichtlich in der Juni-Plenartagung eine Erklärung des Hohen Vertreters erörtern.

China's democratic neighbours and coronavirus: Protecting populations without lockdowns

06-05-2020

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily ...

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily lives, where safeguarding the health of the people has not had devastating consequences for the health of the economy, as witnessed in other parts of the world. They have also showed that it is possible to effectively manage the coronavirus threat transparently, without authoritarian methods. Their models, illustrating that it is possible to implement a successful – albeit sometimes unnoticed – alternative to a liberal laissez-faire model or to a drastic lockdown, could become precious assets for public diplomacy and soft power tools. Given the high rate of information and communications technology penetration in the region, it has been easier for the authorities to make use of big data and contact-tracing by smartphone in order to prevent the pandemic from spreading, as well as collect information on those infected. However, this approach has raised issues of privacy, especially as the details collected allow the identification of those infected and could possibly expose them to stigmatisation. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea is a healthy democracy. It successfully held a general election on 15 April 2020, giving substance to the statement made by the European Parliament's President, David Sassoli: 'Democracy cannot be suspended in the face of Covid-19'.

Religion und Außenpolitik der EU: Wachsendes Engagement

12-02-2020

Die Religion entwickelt sich zu einer neuen Dimension in der auswärtigen Politik der EU. Dieses Dokument vermittelt einen Überblick über die Grundsätze, den institutionellen Rahmen und die Politik, die dem Ansatz der EU bei religiösen Themen in Drittländern zugrunde liegen. Mittlerweile liegen neun Fallstudien vor, die veranschaulichen, welche wichtige Rolle die Religion in der Außenpolitik unterschiedlichster Länder weltweit spielt.

Die Religion entwickelt sich zu einer neuen Dimension in der auswärtigen Politik der EU. Dieses Dokument vermittelt einen Überblick über die Grundsätze, den institutionellen Rahmen und die Politik, die dem Ansatz der EU bei religiösen Themen in Drittländern zugrunde liegen. Mittlerweile liegen neun Fallstudien vor, die veranschaulichen, welche wichtige Rolle die Religion in der Außenpolitik unterschiedlichster Länder weltweit spielt.

Handel der EU mit Lateinamerika und der Karibik: Überblick und Zahlen

16-12-2019

Die 33 Länder, die die Gemeinschaft der Lateinamerikanischen und Karibischen Staaten (CELAC) bilden, sind der fünftgrößte Handelspartner der EU. Die EU hat vollwertige Abkommen mit zwei lateinamerikanischen Zusammenschlüssen (Cariforum und Zentralamerikagruppe), ein multilaterales Handels-abkommen mit drei Staaten der Andengemeinschaft (Kolumbien, Ecuador und Peru) und Abkommen mit Mexiko und Chile, die derzeit modernisiert werden. Darüber hinaus hat die EU interregionale und bilaterale Rahmenabkommen ...

Die 33 Länder, die die Gemeinschaft der Lateinamerikanischen und Karibischen Staaten (CELAC) bilden, sind der fünftgrößte Handelspartner der EU. Die EU hat vollwertige Abkommen mit zwei lateinamerikanischen Zusammenschlüssen (Cariforum und Zentralamerikagruppe), ein multilaterales Handels-abkommen mit drei Staaten der Andengemeinschaft (Kolumbien, Ecuador und Peru) und Abkommen mit Mexiko und Chile, die derzeit modernisiert werden. Darüber hinaus hat die EU interregionale und bilaterale Rahmenabkommen sowohl mit dem Mercosur als auch mit seinen einzelnen Mitgliedern geschlossen. Die zwischen der EU und Zusammenschlüssen sowie einzelnen Ländern in Lateinamerika und der Karibik geschlossenen Abkommen über Handelsbeziehungen weisen in Bezug auf Anwendungsbereich und Methodik je nach Zeitpunkt, zu dem sie geschlossen wurden, und Kontext der Verhandlungen deutliche Unterschiede auf. Die EU modernisiert derzeit die Handelssäulen ihrer Abkommen mit Mexiko (eine „Grundsatzvereinbarung“ wurde im April 2018 erzielt) und Chile (die Verhandlungen laufen noch), um sie an die derzeitigen Normen der FHA der EU anzupassen. Wenn das Assoziierungsabkommen zwischen der EU und dem Mercosur, für dessen Handelssäule im Juni 2019 eine politische Einigung erzielt wurde, erfolgreich ratifiziert wird, hätte die EU umfassende Abkommen über Handelsbeziehungen mit nahezu allen lateinamerikanischen und karibischen Staaten (mit Ausnahme von Bolivien, Kuba und Venezuela).

Träger des Sacharow-Preises 2019: Ilham Tohti

10-12-2019

Weltweit wird der Raum für Gedankenfreiheit immer weiter eingeengt, da autoritäre Regime immer mehr geopolitisches und geowirtschaftliches Gewicht bekommen. Der Sacharow-Preis für geistige Freiheit ist daher wichtiger denn je: Er ermöglicht es dem Europäischen Parlament, gemäß Artikel 21 des Vertrags über die Europäische Union auf die Notlage derjenigen aufmerksam zu machen, die sich gegen die Unterdrückung der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten einsetzen, auf die sich die EU gründet und die sie ...

Weltweit wird der Raum für Gedankenfreiheit immer weiter eingeengt, da autoritäre Regime immer mehr geopolitisches und geowirtschaftliches Gewicht bekommen. Der Sacharow-Preis für geistige Freiheit ist daher wichtiger denn je: Er ermöglicht es dem Europäischen Parlament, gemäß Artikel 21 des Vertrags über die Europäische Union auf die Notlage derjenigen aufmerksam zu machen, die sich gegen die Unterdrückung der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten einsetzen, auf die sich die EU gründet und die sie in ihren Außenbeziehungen fördert. Sacharow-Preisträger 2019 ist der angesehene uigurische Wirtschaftsprofessor Ilham Tohti, ein gemäßigter Verfechter der Rechte der uigurischen Minderheit und des Dialogs mit der Han-Mehrheit in China. Vor dem Hintergrund der sich verschärfenden Politik Chinas gegen religiösen Extremismus, ethnischen Separatismus und Terrorismus – in deren Rahmen man die uigurische Identität inzwischen als schwerwiegende Bedrohung der nationalen Sicherheit verteufelt – wurde er 2014 unter mit Separatismus zusammenhängenden Vorwürfen zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt. Der Sacharow-Preis ist eine mit 50 000 EUR dotierte Auszeichnung, die auf einer Feier im Europäischen Parlament während der Plenartagung im Dezember in Straßburg in Anwesenheit der weiteren Finalisten vorgestellt wird.

China's growing role as a security actor in Africa

08-10-2019

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate ...

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate armed conflicts, jihadist terrorism or maritime piracy off their coasts. The rising number of violent attacks against Chinese workers, calls from the domestic Chinese audience for action, and surging economic loss are some of the factors that have compelled the Chinese government to react. China has shifted from uncompromising non-involvement to selective and incremental engagement in bilateral, regional and international cooperation on peace and security by nuancing, on a case-by-case basis, the narrow boundaries of its normative foreign policy framework, including the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, that had made a previously inward-looking China for decades a free-rider on global security, provided by the US in particular. As in other fields, China has pursued a two-pronged approach to African security issues, to defend its economic and security interests and to expand its influence in Africa. On the one hand, it has contributed to existing multilateral structures and instruments to foster peace and security. It has participated in UN-led peacekeeping missions to Africa and in the UN-mandated counter-piracy action off the Horn of Africa. Both have provided the pretext for China to accelerate its massive blue-water navy build up, to be present in the Indian Ocean and beyond and to set up its first overseas military base, in Djibouti. On the other hand, it has expanded its military presence by engaging African countries bilaterally through joint drills, military training, and military infrastructure-building and multilaterally through the newly created China-Africa fora on security issues. Against this backdrop it remains to be seen how complementary or competitive the future EU-China security cooperation, which so far has remained in its infancy, will be in seeking 'African solutions to African problems'.

International Agreements in Progress: The trade pillar of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement

30-08-2019

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the ...

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the deal's potential environmental and climate change implications. EU farmers' associations with defensive interests have fiercely criticised what they have referred to as a 'cars for cows' deal. On the other hand, the deal has been warmly welcomed by EU industry associations and several sub-sectors of EU agriculture with offensive interests. If tariff and non-tariff barriers are eliminated or substantially lowered, the potential for growth in bi-regional trade in goods, services and investment is significant. In addition, the FTA would be a strong signal in favour of the rules-based multilateral trading system and against power politics in trade. After the agreement's legal review and translation, it will be presented to the Council for signature. It will then be submitted to the European Parliament for consent. Once the Council has adopted the decision concluding the agreement, it will be presented to EU Member State parliaments for ratification. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

EU framework for FDI screening

17-04-2019

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers had cast doubt on the effectiveness of the decentralised and fragmented system of FDI screening – in use in only some EU Member States – to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU coordinated cooperation among all EU Member States. The proposal's objective was neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms then used by almost half of the Member States, nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. Instead, it aimed to enhance cooperation and information-sharing on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, and to increase legal certainty and transparency. The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Council adopted their positions in May and June 2018 respectively, and interinstitutional negotiations concluded in November 2018 with a provisional text. That was first endorsed by the Member States' Permanent Representatives (Coreper) and by INTA in December 2018. After the text's adoption by the European Parliament and the Council in February and March 2019 respectively, it entered into force on 10 April 2019, and will apply from 11 October 2020, 18 months later. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Towards a new EU policy approach to China: 21st EU-China Summit – April 2019

08-04-2019

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that ...

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that the context of US-China great power competition looms large and that the EU has adopted more assertive language in its recently issued EU-China strategic outlook, it remains to be seen whether meaningful outcomes will be reached at this year's summit.

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