EU-China friendship

Paulina Matwiej

 

Some skeptical people try to convince that the European Union is closed for cooperation with third countries. Looking close into the history of European Union’s external relations this statement can be easily abolished. European External Action Service and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have been established to effectively carry out foreign and international policies. EEAS works inter alia through the Partnership Instrument, which helps to cooperate with partners from around the world and to advance Union’s strategic goals. Relations with China are the example of EU openness to international dialogue.

Chinese primeminister Zhou Enlai and vice-president of the European Econominc Community Commission Christopher Soames, May 1975 (establishment of diplomatic relations between EU and China) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Chinese primeminister Zhou Enlai and vice-president of the European Econominc Community Commission Christopher Soames, May 1975 (establishment of diplomatic relations between EU and China) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Development of mutual friendship

In May 1975 Christopher Soames as a first Commissioner in EU history visited China. This meeting was crucial for further diplomatic relationship as well as expressed mutual interest in closer cooperation. Great significance had an agreement from 1985 called ‘EC-China Trade and Co-operation Agreement’. Until 2002 it was the main framework for relations with this country. The Agreement established common objectives on the economic sphere. The document states precisely areas of cooperation as follow: industry and mining; agriculture; science and technology; energy; transport and communication; environmental protection; cooperation in third countries. Year after that ‘EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ was created and has deepened cooperation in a wide range of areas. A Year 2009 brought consolidation of previous agreements, since then cooperation has been gradually  transforming to three pillars structure. The first pillar is ‘High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue’, the second one (‘High Level Strategic Dialogue’)  enhanced political dialogue on bilateral and global issues. Last pillar emerged in 2012 with the official name ‘EU-China High Level People-to-people Dialogue’. Untill 2015 over 60 high level, senior level dialogues and working groups have been established, 3 years ago three new EU-China dialogues on innovation, international development and sustainable tourism were launched.

EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation 

The EU-China summit meeting from November 2013 was seen as a significant not only because of substantive character but also due to the fact that it was the first summit between EU leaders and the new, fifth generation of leaders in China. The most important outcome of this summit was the document named ‘EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda, summit established also investment agreement between both sides. After introduction of this document mutual cooperation became more institutionalized and developed, more and more areas of interest were added. The EU-China Strategic Agenda for Cooperation provides a list of key initiatives which should be achieved. Consultations on Africa, Central Asia and neighbors of the UE and China have to be enhanced. Both sides decided to reinforce dialogue on nuclear security to combat with problem of smuggling of nuclear material. Staying in the area of security, sides that they should work through EU-China Cyber Taskforce platform for peaceful, secure and open cyber space. The document mentions about common fight against piracy, that is why China decided to take an active part in Atlanta Operation (counter-piracy initiative of the EU ). The parties agreed that they should deepen the learning of Chinese and EU languages in the education system of EU and China. Strategic Agenda covers every possible aspect of cooperation: human rights, trade, oceans security, agriculture, space and aerospace and many other areas. (Check the full agenda here)

Jose Manuel Barroso (l) Herman Van Rompuy (r) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, 31 march 2014 ( President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China visited the European Union in Brussels) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Jose Manuel Barroso (l) Herman Van Rompuy (r) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, 31 march 2014 ( President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China visited the European Union in Brussels) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Besides the fact that European Union as a unity of chosen states works hard to keep close contact and dialogue with the states  from behind it. Relations with China are so tight that in this case cannot be said that EU is insulate itself from the rest of the world.

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