EU-China relations

Further research

published: 4.01.2024

MERICS EU-China Opinion Pool: What does it really mean for Europe to ‘de-risk’ its relationship with China?

At the core of many EU Commission and member states’ recent discussions of China is the concept of “de-risking.” Distinct from “decoupling,” the concept focuses on mitigating risks and limiting strategic dependencies in Europe’s relationship with China. They would achieve this using the EU’s economic defenses more effectively and engaging in open and frank dialogue, while remaining open to targeted cooperation and economic ties that are considered “un-risky”.

Discrepancies between the Commission and member states underscore the ongoing debate about what it means to “de-risk.” Even as many EU member states broadly agree on the challenges posed by contemporary EU-China relations, their post-pandemic approaches to re-engaging with Beijing have taken very different forms. What is the state of the de-risking China debate following the release of Germany’s China Strategy, and what will de-risking ultimately mean in practice?

In this round of MERICS’ EU-China opinion pool, MERICS Analyst Grzegorz Stec asked several experts: What does it really mean for Europe to ‘de-risk’ its relationship with China?


About the speakers

Grzegorz Stec

Analyst (Brussels office) at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)

EU-China relations; Central and Eastern Europe-China relations