BERLIN — The European Union (EU) is expecting cooperation and dialogue with China in various fields as bilateral ties are faced with both opportunities and challenges in a post-pandemic world, an expert has said.
In an interview with Xinhua ahead of a China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting, Gu Xuewu, director of the Center for Global Studies at Germany’s University of Bonn, said that the European political circles attach great importance to the meeting because it is expected to provide guidelines for future EU-China ties.
The virtual meeting, slated for Monday, was also an effort by German Chancellor Angela to lead the EU to pursue a pragmatic China policy. “She wants to push China-EU ties onto a healthier track after Germany took the rotating EU presidency on July 1, and before her tenure ends as German chancellor next year,” Gu said. Merkel has ruled out plans to run for a fifth term despite her relatively high popularity.
The German government has recently announced a set of diplomatic guidelines in a policy document named “Germany-Europe-Asia: shaping the 21st century together,” in which partnership with China is focused on such areas as clean coal projects, nuclear non-proliferation and strengthening the functions of the United Nations, Gu noted, adding that 5G infrastructure, public health and digital economy are also the EU’s points of interests.
In the 72-page document, which emphasizes partnership, coordinations and interactions, China is mentioned 59 times, said Gu. He added that the document sends a signal that Germany and the EU will not pursue “decoupling” with China despite U.S. pressure. “Germany and the EU are currently under immense pressure from Donald Trump’s government, a few like-minded politicians and media outlets. It’s no picnic for EU core leaders to stick to the right policy of cooperating and holding dialogue with China,” said Gu, adding that there is more cooperation between China and Europe than competition, more consensus than disagreement.
Although China and the EU have different opinions on some issues, high-level exchanges between the two sides have been conducted frequently this year, Gu noted. Both sides support cooperation for mutual benefit and hold similar views on the future world order, the expert added. “Both China and the EU … advocate multilateralism. They do not approve of unilateralism, power politics and bullying,” Gu said.