Source: CGTN Published: 2019-3-19
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the ninth China-European Union High-Level Strategic Dialogue. The foreign minister later said that there will be more cooperation, stability, and connectivity in the world as China strengthens its ties with the European Union.
Amid rising unilateralism and economic uncertainty, will cooperation or competition define the relationship between China and the EU? Looking at the recent development, how would experts assess the nature of China-EU relationship so far? CGTN Senior Correspondent Tian Wei talked with a group of panelists.
"I would say from a business point of view, it is still quite good. We published our business conference survey late this year, but all I can say is that 2018 was a very good year for European companies, and the outlook for the future is also quite bright. So I think from a business point of view, it is quite good," said Mats Harborn, the President of EU Chamber of Commerce in China.
However, the China-EU relationship is not without challenges. On March 12, EU policymakers at the European Commission released a paper labeling China as an "economic competitor" and "systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance."
When it comes to the current state of China-EU relations, Director of European Studies at Renmin University Wang Yiwei believes there is no zero-sum game, "The European Union countries focus on the comparative advantages of the European Union, relative declining. And the other normative power cannot set rules and norms for international relations, so they fear competition from China. So I think there is no zero-sum game...China's way is we are still a developing country...so it is not a challenge."
As the two large economies rise, some may say it is a question for European countries to choose a side. Professor Iain Begg from London School of Economics expressed that the U.S. and EU relationship is strong.
"I think we should recognize that the U.S. and European relationship is also a security one through NATO. And therefore that becomes the bedrock of European thinking. Europe thinks the U.S. guarantees the security; until quite recently China is much more alien, not involved in a security environment which the EU operates."
"Now we have an approach coming inside Washington which is much more hostile not just to China, but also to some European companies. Hence this concern that Merkel said. So Europeans are not faced with a choice. Rather a reassessment of how reliable the U.S. is."
Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.