EU-China relations


published: 31.07.2023

European Council Experts' Debrief

The European Council Experts’ Debrief is a series of policy responses to the regularly published conclusions of the European Council. Each time the European Council meets for a summit, TEPSA (Trans European Policy Studies Association) gathers its leading academics to comment on the conclusions, analyse alliances formed, maintained, and broken, investigate policy implications, and suggest solutions to move Europe forward. Mario Esteban, Associate Professor at Autonomous University of Madrid, were among these experts for this edition.

This eighth edition of the European Council Experts’ Debrief focuses on the implications of the June European Council conclusions as regards the future of EU-China relations and the European Union’s ongoing struggle to find an effective strategy towards China. TEPSA Secretary-General Jim Cloos asked authors to respond to the question, formulated with TEPSA Executive Director Mariam Khotenashvili:

The EU, as documented by the June European Council discussion, is in search of a China strategy. How effective is the multifaceted approach adopted four years ago (China as partner, competitor, systemic rival) and now reconfirmed by the June EUCO and how will it evolve further?

How does that approach compare to the US approach and what are the geostrategic implications? Concerning economic relations with China, the assumption of the EUCO is that the EU will not de-couple, but that Europe should look for increasing its own economic security (de-risking) and insist on more reciprocity and a level playing field. Will this be possible and is it compatible with the EU’s foreign policy?