World / Europe

EU updates strategy for dealing with China

By Fu Jing in Brussels ( Updated: 2016-06-23 15:27

EU updates strategy for dealing with China

State Councilor Yang Jiechi and his EU counterpart Federica Mogherini vow to deepen the bilateral relationship at press conference of the sixth round of high-level strategic dialogue held in Brussels on June 10, 2016. [Photo by Fu Jing/]

Brussels announced it was updating its strategy in dealing with Beijing, a partner which it says is rapidly increasing its international influence and should be more closely engaged.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission issued a Joint Communication on Wednesday entitled "Elements for a new EU strategy on China", which maps out the European Union's relationship with China for the next five years.

The EU should pursue an ambitious agenda of co-operation with China. "China's needs are as great as ours and failure to cooperate also brings adverse consequences for China," the paper was cited as saying.

Brussels announced the changes prior to the forthcoming summit in Beijing in the first half of July and European Commission said the elements in the paper can be used to prepare the summit.

The European Commission's last Communication on China was adopted a decade ago in 2006. Brussels says the EU and China have both undergone considerable changes since then and China has a stronger presence in all regions of the world, economically and politically.

"This new reality calls for a fresh EU narrative that recognize the need to deal with these new developments. The EU's new strategy therefore sets out to promote EU interests and underline EU values in its relationship with China for the next five years," the paper was cited as saying.

Federica Mogherini, the High Representative and Vice-President of European Commission said: "The European Union and China already cooperate on so much...and the Joint Communication that we have adopted today will, I am sure, enable our relationship to fulfill its clear potential."

She said China and the EU have worked together on the global and political issues of the times, such as Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, migration and climate change.

"But we can and must do more to connect the European Union and China. Our citizens, industries, and organizations can all benefit from a closer, improved, and better-defined EU-China relationship based on shared responsibility," she added.

The Joint Communication identifies major opportunities for the EU's relationship with China, in particular the aim of creating jobs and growth in Europe as well as vigorously promoting a greater opening up of the Chinese market to European business, thus contributing to the first priority of President Jean-Claude Juncker's Commission.

According to the paper, broader ambitions such as a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement can be considered once an ambitious investment agreement between the two sides has been concluded and reforms that level the playing field for domestic and foreign companies have been implemented.

The Joint Communication also highlights opportunities for closer cooperation and partnership between the EU and China in the fields of foreign and security policy.

"Building on the positive experience of the Iran nuclear talks, the European Union and China should work more closely together in order to resolve international conflicts and foreign policy priorities both bilaterally and in multilateral contexts such as the UN system and in the G20," the official position paper said.

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