ESF Working Paper No. 19, 19 pages
Like the rest of the world, Europe has been fascinated by the emergence of China for a long time, and there has been an official relationship between the EU and the People’s Republic of China for 30 years now. This relationship was upgraded in 1998. It now takes the form of a China-EU summit every year, the latest having taken place in December 2004. The EU became China’s main trading partner in 2004, with trade between the two parties soaring to €160 billion.
The EU’s strategy towards China, which is based on European Commission policy papers adopted in 1998, 2001 and 2003, aims at engaging China in the international community, supporting China’s transition towards an open society based upon the rule of law and the respect of human rights, and integrating China further in the world economy. The theme of ‘multipolarity’ is also implicitly present in the European approach: “The EU, as a global player on the international stage, shares China’s concern for a more balanced international order based on effective multilateralism”.