Europe in the World


EU-China agreement: A sign of European geopolitical awakening

08 Mar 2021 - 12:35
Source: The EU and China recently signed a new investment treaty / Council of the European Union)

In the last hours of 2020, the European Union reached an agreement in principle on investment with Beijing. The European quartet of Michel, von der Leyen, Merkel and Macron met via videoconference with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. The agreement gives European companies better access and protection on Chinese markets, but analysts were mainly struck by its strategic importance – the EU, on its own, accomplished a geopolitical act. Washington took offence. How could Europe enter into an agreement with the US’s big rival just three weeks before Biden’s inauguration? Couldn’t it have waited a bit to arrive at a common position against the “thug” Xi?

It is also in the Americans’ interest not to disrupt the dynamics of Europe’s geopolitical awakening, but to join with it in creating a new transatlantic relationship. As things now stand, Europe clearly cannot do without US military protection; Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are perfectly aware of this. But our interests and values are not always aligned with those of the US. To be strong and united on essential democratic issues, Europe must possess its own capacity to act. If the US sees “consultation” as simply blowing a whistle and having Europe fall into line, it is ignoring the extent of the world’s new balance of power.

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This alert is a publication by The China Platform for European Institutional Investors (CPEII).

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