The EU must respond to Chinese efforts to change the rules-based order | News

Priopćenja za tisak – Europski parlament

Parliament recognises China’s simultaneous role as a partner but also increasingly a competitor and systemic rival to the EU. The Beijing government is strengthening its role and influence over international institutions, MEPs say, with both the intention and economic, technological and military means to reshape the international rules-based order. They say both the EU and China have an interest in pursuing active and stable relations, which should be based on international law, balanced engagement and shared global responsibilities. Yet they also highlight that China is moving into a new era of security and control characterised by increasing internal repression and an increasingly assertive economic and foreign policy.

Pragmatic engagement on global challenges, more balanced trade needed

Stressing the need for the EU to continue to engage pragmatically with China to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, financial stability risks as well as conflicts and security issues, Parliament urges the EU to engage more with China to get Beijing to stop its support for Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and helping Moscow’s circumvention of EU sanctions. Noting that the ruling Chinese Communist party does not share the same values as European democracies, they also want the European Union to respond more adequately to China’s increasing efforts to change the multilateral rules-based order through tools like the BRICS group and the Belt and Road Initiative. This can be achieved through better coordination among EU member states, more engagement with international partners and through the promotion of the EU’s own Global Gateway strategy

On economic ties, MEPs stress the need to advance the stated goal of de-risking trade flows with China to reinforce the EU’s open strategic autonomy, without turning inwards. They highlight the importance of reciprocal and balanced trade relations, to address the structural shortcoming of the Chinese market and improve fair conditions and market access for European companies.

The EU must confront China over its human rights abuses

Deploring China’s deeply worrisome human rights record, the report also urges the EU to call on the Chinese authorities to stop their crackdown on dissent and on religious and ethnic minorities, and halt their ongoing grave violations. MEPs refer to the alarming situation in Xinjiang and Tibet, but also recent and more long-term developments in Hong Kong and Macao.

They also want the EU to do more to limit Chinese control over critical infrastructure in the EU, as well as to better combat cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns originating from China, the surveillance of the Chinese diaspora in Europe, and espionage.

On Taiwan, and with the EU’s ‘One China policy’ remaining firmly intact, MEPs are opposed to any changes to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, particularly one by force, and call on the EU to work with regional partners to discourage China from escalating tensions in the region.


“We can no longer be naive when dealing with China – it is an important trading partner, but increasingly a systemic rival and competitor. Today we make clear that the EU must react to an assertive China by implementing a bold new strategy. We must continue to cooperate with China where possible, based on reciprocal rules. But Europe must never turn a blind eye to China’s human rights violations. To uphold our values and interests, we urgently need to strengthen our strategic autonomy and de-risk our relations and we must speak with one European voice to when we do,” rapporteur Hilde Vautmans (Renew Europe, Belgium) said after the vote.

The recommendations in full will be available here. They were adopted by 529 votes in favour, 47 against with 40 abstentions.

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