History of the Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN)


(37 Members)

Chairs of the Delegation

1980-1982 Mr Gilles MARTINET (PSE, France)

1983-1984 Mrs Marie Jacqueline DESOUCHES (PSE, France)

1984-1986 Mr Enzo BETTIZA (LDR, Italy)

1986-1989 Mr Geoffrey HOON (PSE, United Kingdom)

1989-1994 Mr Enzo BETTIZA (PSE, Italy)

1994-1996 Mr Stefano DE LUCA (UPE, Italy)

1997-1999 Mr Per GAHRTON (Green, Sweden)

1999-2001 Mr Per GAHRTON (Green, Sweden)

2002-2004 Mrs Elly PLOOIJ-VAN GORSEL (ELDR, Netherlands)

2004-2009 Mr Dirk STERCKX (ALDE, Belgium)

2009-2014 Mr Crescenzio RIVELLINI (EPP, Italy)

2014-2019 Mr Jo LEINEN (S&D, Germany)

2019- Mr Reinhard BÜTIKOFER (Greens, Germany)

Brief history of the delegation

Parliament's Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China was established following the first direct European elections in 1979, and IPMs have been taking place since 1980.

The EU's relations with China were established in 1975. They are governed by the 1985 EU-China Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The EU is China's biggest trading partner, while China is the EU's largest source of imports and second largest two-way trading partner. Negotiations on EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) were launched in 2014 and are still ongoing. Annual summits and regular political, trade and economic dialogues are held, including over sixty thematic dialogues and agreements.

The main task of the delegation is to maintain relations with the National People's Congress (NPC) through regular inter-parliamentary meetings. The delegation is also the focal point for relations with the legislative councils of the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macao, and the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan.

The Delegation for relations with China is Parliament's second-largest interparliamentary delegation. It has 37 full members and an equal number of substitutes, however currently 35.

From 2007 until 2015 it was a standard practice to hold two IPMs each year - one in Europe and one in China. In 2016 to 2018, under the current rules, there has been one IPM annually, alternating between Europe and China. The latest IPM, the 41st, was held on 8 May 2018 in Beijing. From time to time the delegation bureau has also visited China.

The importance of Parliament in the development of the EU-China relationship is widely recognised, by the EEAS, the Commission and other EU Institutions, member States and the Chinese authorities. In the past it has been stated that 'the European Parliament plays a central role and should expand co-operation with the Chinese National People's Congress'.

In addition to the formal meetings, the delegation Chair regularly meets separately with the Chinese ambassador and other embassy representatives, as well as with other individuals and groups involved in EU-China relations, including EEAS officials, high-level officials of the EU, think tanks and NGOs.

Activities during the 8th parliamentary term (2014-2019)

Main delegation activities

  • Bureau visit, April 2015, Beijing & Hong Kong
  • 37th interparliamentary meeting, July 2015, Beijing & Shenyang
  • 38th interparliamentary meeting, September 2015, Brussels
  • 39th interparliamentary meeting, May 2016, Beijing & Chengdu
  • 40th interparliamentary meeting, November 2017, Strasbourg
  • Bureau visit, December 2017, Hong Kong
  • 41st interparliamentary meeting, May 2018, Beijing & Hangzhou

History of first EU-China IPMs

  • 1st interparliamentary meeting, June 1980, Strasbourg
  • 2nd interparliamentary meeting, September 1981, Beijing
  • 3rd interparliamentary meeting, October 1983, Strasbourg
  • 4th interparliamentary meeting, April 1984, Beijing
  • 5th interparliamentary meeting, October 1985, Strasbourg, Venice
  • 6th interparliamentary meeting, May 1986, Beijing
  • 7th interparliamentary meeting, September1988, Beijing
  • 8th interparliamentary meeting, December 1988, London, Derby, Strasbourg
  • 9th interparliamentary meeting, September 199,1 Beijing, Lhasa, Chengdu, Guangzhou
  • 10th interparliamentary meeting, Oct/Nov 1992, Madrid, Lisbon, Strasbourg, Barcelona
  • 11th interparliamentary meeting, November 1993, Beijing, Shanghai
  • 12th interparliamentary meeting, February 1995, Brussels, Strasbourg, Athens
  • 13th interparliamentary meeting, May/June 1996, Beijing, Xian
  • 14th interparliamentary meeting, April 1997, Brussels
  • 15th interparliamentary meeting, May/June 1998, Beijing, Shenyang, Dalian, Macau, Hong Kong
  • 16th Interparliamentary meeting, December 1999, Strasbourg

Other visits to the European Parliament and the China Delegation

  • April 2005 - Representatives of National People's Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
  • May 2006 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • March 2008 - Mr Karma Chopel, Speaker of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, Foreign Affairs Committee
  • December 2008 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, plenary session of European Parliament
  • November 2014 - Mr Li Jinjun, Vice Minister of the International Department Central Committee of CPC (IDCPC)
  • July 2015 - Mr Zhang Zhijun, Minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the PRC
  • May 2016 - Qiangba Puncog, Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China
  • September 2016 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, during the plenary session of European Parliament in Strasbourg
  • December 2016 - Huang Jiangnan, Honorary Chairman of China Overseas Agriculture Development Alliance
  • October 2019 - Delegation from the Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, led by NPC Members from Tibet