Commissioner Jyrki Katainen just presented an EU China strategy. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) is happy her repeated calls for a single, comprehensive European strategy towards China have been heeded. Schaake:
'A strategic and coherent vision on our relation with China should have been drafted much earlier, but is welcomed better late than never. The EU-China Summit is just around the corner. '
Chinese foot in the door
Over the past years, Chinese state sponsored companies have made countless investments in Europe. Such investments often focus on critical infrastructure projects or technical areas such as the development of a 5G network in Europe.
'In the absence of a European strategy, China has managed to get a foot in the door in a variety of European capitals. China is adept in playing European countries against each other, which allows a Chinese investment in a Greek port to block a common EU position on human rights in China and the Italian government seeking to unilaterally join the Chinese Belt & Road initiative. These divisions need to end.
'Consistently diverging approaches and a divided Europe only play straight into China's hands.'
The strategy that was presented today will be discussed by EU leaders on March 22nd. An EU China summit will take place in Brussels on April 9th. According to Schaake these developments emphasize there is no time to waste.
'It is essential that the European member states approve the strategy that was presented today as soon as possible. Additionally, we have to ensure that economic interests don’t take preference over our adherence to rights and values.’