D-CN: Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with China (D-CN) was established following the first direct European elections in 1979. From the following year, inter-parliamentary meetings (IPMs) brought together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Chinese legislators to discuss issues of mutual interest, until the unfortunate freeze of the diplomatic relations.

The freezing of the relations go back to March 2021, when the People's Republic of China (PRC) sanctioned ten individuals of which five were members of the four biggest democratic groups in the European Parliament and three members of national parliaments, as well as the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Political and Security Committee of the Council. This was Chinese retaliation of the EU Foreign Ministers sanctions on four Chinese individuals and one Chinese entity for the reason that of atrocious human rights violations.

While the EU sanctioned individuals and an entity that were responsible for human rights violations in the PRC, the PRC sanctioned the criticisers of human rights violations. One of the MEP sanctioned by PRC was the Chair of this China Delegation, Mr Reinhard Bütikofer.

Understandably, ever since the Parliamentary diplomacy channel between the PRC and the EP is broken and consequently there has not been any official meetings between the EP and PRC representatives, no delegation's visit to mainland China, nor IPMs since March 2021.

The EU and China

The EU's China policy is defined by the 'Elements for a new EU Strategy on China' and 'Council Conclusions EU Strategy on China' which were reviewed in 2019 in the 'EU-China Strategic Outlook'. Together these documents reflect the fundamental premises of the EU's engagement based on a realistic, assertive and multi-faceted approach in order to promote democracy, rule of law, human rights, and respect for the UN Charter and international law, with the pursuit for reciprocal benefits in political and economic relations.

The practical cooperation agenda for the EU and China is set out in the EU-China Summit Joint Statements and the midterm 'EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation', jointly signed by the EU and China in 2013. The latter covers the areas of peace and security, prosperity, sustainable development, and people-to-people exchanges.

Bilateral relations between the EU and the PRC are conducted at the highest level through the annual EU-China Summit, which is usually preceded by the key bilateral dialogues: the Strategic Dialogue, the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) and the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue.


The delegation holds frequent meetings in Brussels and in Strasbourg. These include exchanges of views on topical issues, with experts invited from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission, think tanks, academia, the media, civil society and others.

The semi-annual inter-parliamentary meetings with Chinese counterparts has been stopped ever since the PRC placed sanctions to MEPs. The 41st EU-People's Republic of China Inter-parliamentary Meeting was held in Beijing on 8 May 2018.


The Delegation counts 38 full members, making it one of the Parliament's largest delegation. Full Members are supported by an equal number of substitutes. The European Parliament's political groups, reflecting the Parliaments political balance, nominate all delegation members and substitute members.

The Chair of the delegation in the 9th legislative term is Reinhard Bütikofer, a German Member of the European Parliament's Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. He is currently supported by the first Vice-Chair René Repasi (S&D, DE) and the second Vice-Chair Pernille Weiss (EPP, DK).