Though the EU and China have signed a Strategic Partnership agreement foreign policy analysts qualify its results as “rather disappointing” and point “to the rising disputes within a context of a shifting balance of power”. Some of the reasons for the disappointing performance of the rather young Strategic Partnership up to now refer not only to policy cooperation but to broader societal dimensions as well: a low level of trust between the respective political elites as well as between both societies, the “conceptual gaps” of a shared, mutual understanding and partly diverging cultural values due to different historical journeys and positioning in the international system. We are convinced that citizen diplomacy has to make essential contributions to generate intercultural trust and develop a deeper mutual understanding including shared but differentiated narratives of global and bilateral issues. [Read more by following the link above]
China is now one of the top 10 largest foreign aid donors in the world. Yet, much about its aid program is still shrouded in mystery. The release of the first white paper on China’s foreign aid in April 2011 was an important first step in China becoming more open about how its spends its aid. With the much-awaited second white paper due to be published soon, there are hopes and expectations of even greater transparency. This time round, it won’t suffice for Beijing to simply regurgitate old slogans or display aggregate data.
In February 2012, the EU and the Chinese government introduced the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue. Tagged "the third pillar" of the EU-China dialogue architecture (in addition to the political and economic strands), it is designed to strengthen people-to-people exchanges, identify opportunities for cooperation and foster a greater understanding between the EU and China.
Andreas Fulda's insight:
In this op-ed I call for the establishment of an EU-China People-to-People Dialogue Support Facility in 2014. More than just a talking shop, it should seek concrete action and provide funding for follow-up activities. It would run from 2015 until 2020 and would need sufficient resources to implement a minimum of 20 dialogue forums and 10 study tours in Europe and China. This would require a budget of 5 million to 8 million euros.
The P2PDSF could be given a remit to promote grassroots-level dialogue in the fields of education, environment, culture, civil society, public sector reform, disability, gender and LGBT, and youth.
In mid-2012, a long-running dispute between the European Union (EU) and China over alleged dumping of Chinese solar panels into the European market threatened to darken relations and escalate into a multi-sector trade war.
How the West can best engage China’s new generation of reformers.
Neither pro-establishment intellectuals nor anti-establishment protesters possess sufficient clout to convince party cadres that democratic reform in China is a necessity, leaving the West unsure whom to support. Yet a growing if disparate group of “trans-establishment” reformers, successfully navigating the delicate balancing act between party-state ties and sympathy for civil society, may prove a winning bet.
While EU leaders struggle with the eurozone crisis, China focuses its attention on Germany.
Chancellor Merkel, with a big delegation in tow, is on another government consultation in Beijing, the second trip to China this year. With German exports to China rising, Chinese investments in Germany growing, and Germany's European partners struggling - European nerves are unsettled by this Berlin-Beijing courtship.
Should the Europeans fear the growing influence of the BRICS power consortium? Europe's normative and strategic influence over the rising powers is minimal. But the BRICS rise does not have to force a decline in the Union's global stature. Europe’s economic future is significantly tied to the development of these countries and the EU needs to use the assets it does have to engage Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
There is a common perception that China’s policy towards the European Union is largely based on bilateral relations with member states. Relations between Beijing and Brussels are centred around the EU-China Summits and a strategic partnership agreement signed between the two sides in 2003. However China’s new 16+1 initiative aimed at Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries has caught the attention of the very institutions that the initiative bypassed. Why might this formula be an interesting case study? What intentions lie behind the scenes? To what extent may China play a constructive/deconstructive role in the region? Moreover, from the EU’s foreign policy perspective, should China’s activities in its eastern neighbourhood be more closely watched?
Along with China's rapid economic growth comes an equally rapid increase in political power. As the European Union seeks to strengthen dialogue with the up and coming world power, obstacles remain evident.
The first EU-China Summit took place in 1998, in London (during the UK Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the EU). Ever since, they have been held on an annual basis, alternating between Beijing and the country currently hosting the EU Presidency). They are attended by the Chinese Prime Minister and other relevant Ministers and, for the EU, by the President of the Council of Ministers, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, as well as other relevant Ministers and European Commissioners.
In recent years, Joint Statements have been issued, setting out agreed policy positions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international/ global issues.
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