Co-operation despite deteriorating relations EU-China

In 2021 the bilateral relations between China and the EU deteriorated, mainly due to China’s counter-measures to EU-sanctions on human rights, and because of economic coercion and trade measures against the single market. But still, EU and China were the largest partners for trade in goods that year, accounting for €1.9 billion a day: the EU-exports to China values €223 billion, while the imports from China amounted to €472 billion.

The 23rd EU-China summit took place on 1 April 2022 via video conference. President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, representing the EU,  met Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in the morning and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the afternoon.

It did not reduce the tensions between China and the EU, mainly because China did not exert its influence on Russia to stop the war in Ukraine, as demanded by the EU. Charles Michel, President of the European Council stated that ‘As major global powers, the EU and China must work together on stopping Russia’s war in Ukraine as soon as possible. We have a common responsibility to maintain peace and stability, and a safe and sustainable world.’

Yet, the EU and China stays committed to engagement and cooperation, given China’s crucial role in addressing global and regional challenges. How?

For example, on these topics:

  • The EU will work with China and other member states of the World Health Organization on a new agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
  • EU and China are reinforcing their cooperation in areas like carbon markets, long-term emission development strategies, clean energy and energy efficiency, and low emission transport and cities.
  • The EU and China will also work together to secure a robust and ambitious new global biodiversity framework at the COP 15 in Kunming.
  • The EU and China will continue their dialogues on trade and the digital economy

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