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Procedure : 2021/2037(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0252/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0252/2021

Debates :

PV 14/09/2021 - 13
CRE 14/09/2021 - 13

Votes :

PV 15/09/2021 - 12
PV 16/09/2021 - 2
CRE 16/09/2021 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0382

Debates
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Tuesday, 14 September 2021 - Strasbourg Revised edition

13. A new EU-China strategy (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Puhemies. – Esityslistalla on seuraavana Hilde Vautmansin ulkoasiainvaliokunnan puolesta laatima mietintö EU:n uudesta Kiina-strategiasta (2021/2037(INI)) (A9-0252/2021).

 
  
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  Hilde Vautmans, rapporteur. – Madam President, let me first thank my colleagues for their good cooperation on the report. We stand here as a united parliament. United in our belief that we must put our naivety aside when dealing with China. A united parliament that is very clear in its rejection of the investment agreement, as long as our colleagues are sanctioned and human rights violations are ongoing in China.

In our report, we recognise that the rise of China will have an enormous impact on our way of life and Europe’s role in the world. We also warn that Europe is not prepared for this change because, until now, we have defined our relationship with China in terms of trade.

Don’t get me wrong, China is indeed a very interesting trading partner, and it’s great for European business that many Chinese are now able to afford German cars, French wines and Italian fashion. But economic gains should not make us blind to the challenges that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to the liberal world order.

The EU must be determined to defend our key values, and this requires a new and more assertive strategy.

First, we must realise that China is too big to ignore. We cannot deal with climate change, terrorism and global security without working together with China. If you want to save our planet, China must be our partner in this field. That is why I fully disagree with those who plead for a complete decoupling between the West and China.

But let’s not be naive. China’s cherry-picking of the rules of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization must end. And China has to show that it means business on climate change; otherwise, the EU must introduce a border tax to offset the higher carbon emissions of Chinese products.

Second, the EU must step up its defence of human rights and the rule of law. The Communist regime tries to wipe out Uyghur heritage from Chinese soil. Hong Kong has been subject to one of the most brutal crackdowns we have seen in recent history.

This repression is not limited to China. Chinese ‘Belt and Road’ money is pouring into Africa, the Western Balkans and Latin America. It is financing regimes and companies that trample on human rights. Reports of labour exploitation, land-grabbing, pollution and health issues are frequent. I call on our leaders to finally come up with a credible European alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative. We must support sustainable investments which do not exploit workers, which respect the environment and enhance good governance.

And let us increase the pressure on China to stop its crackdown on Hong Kong. And, as I have already said a lot of times, and I will repeat it again, we need to stop importing cotton from the Xinjiang area because products from slave labour have no place in the European Union.

Third, the EU will clearly never be a match for China or the other world powers unless we get our act together. The disaster in Afghanistan has shown that we need a European army, a real foreign policy without national vetoes. It is also very clear to me that we need a European FBI and CIA to counter foreign threats.

China’s rise has only just begun. Some say Europe’s decline started a long time ago. Let’s prove them wrong and step up our ambitions. Let’s show that the time for naivety is over. Let’s make Europe fit for the future with a new strategy to deal with the rising dragon, combined with a strategy to make a fist on the world stage.

 
  
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  Jutta Urpilainen, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, today’s debate is a timely opportunity to discuss our common approach to China. As reflected in your report, a lot has changed in the past months when it comes to this important relationship and not necessarily for the better. Relations have become increasingly challenging. Until the end of 2020 we saw positive steps in developing EU-China relations, rebalancing our economic relations and developing our international toolbox to address challenges brought along by China.

This increased leverage and credibility allowed us to conclude the negotiations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment in December, but also to agree on human rights sanctions over Chinese individuals under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions regime. Since then, the situation has changed. The Chinese decision to impose counter measures, including on Members of this Parliament simply for having expressed their opinions, has led to a worsening of relations. China will remain an increasingly assertive global power that does not shy away from applying economic pressure on countries and actors whose policies it disagrees with. Our values gap is growing, so is the need for EU solidarity and for signalling that certain actions are unacceptable. This plenary debate and the report on a new EU-China strategy testify to this.

I believe that our overall approach towards EU China relations, our multifaceted approach that treats China as a partner, competitor and rival, remains valid. We need to engage with China as a key economic partner and political player without whom we cannot address global challenges effectively. At the same time, the EU must continue to speak its mind, stand its ground and push back in areas where fundamental disagreement with China exists, first and foremost on human rights.

Our current framework to handle relations with China fits closely with the recommendations of this report. Our overall approach encompasses key foreign policy aims that are not actor-specific, such as strategic autonomy. We aim at international cooperation which preserves our values and a rule-based multilateral system. We foster partnerships with the like-minded, as you will see in the Indo-Pacific Strategy. All of this, taken together, reflects the recommendations put forward in the report.

I thank Ms Vautmans and the shadow rapporteurs for the recommendations and the general support for our policies in this report. Our unity remains our strength. I am looking forward to continuing our exchange.

 
  
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  Radosław Sikorski, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, China is, of course, a communist dictatorship with everything that concerns human rights. But its communism is native born and, under communism, China has modernised. In fact, the rise has been awesome. It contains a quarter of humanity and has an ancient culture worthy of respect.

China has committed grave errors and crimes such as the Cultural Revolution. Abandoning the Deng doctrine of hiding your strength and playing for time is also, I believe, a mistake. There’s also a looming debt crisis. Europe and the United States should act together, even though our interests are not identical. The challenge for us is how to trade with China while remaining a good ally of the United States. I therefore welcome the creation of the Trade and Technology Council. We should collaborate on everything with the United States except the military field, while, of course, maintaining the arms embargo.

I commend this report, which tries to put forward the following doctrine: collaborate with China where possible, compete where needed and confront where necessary. Madam President, just before coming into this Chamber, I learned that the British House of Commons and House of Lords have jointly decided to exclude the new Ambassador of China from the premises as long as some Members of the UK Parliament remain subject to Chinese sanctions. I see colleagues here in this Chamber who have also been sanctioned. In solidarity with them, I propose that we adopt a similar principle.

 
  
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  Pedro Marques, em nome do Grupo S&D. – Senhora Presidente, a China é, ou pode ser, ao mesmo tempo, um parceiro comercial e de negociação, mas também um rival económico e competidor sistémico no plano global. A relação da União Europeia com a China tem, por isso, de considerar tudo isto, mas tem de ter no seu coração o respeito pelos direitos humanos. É nesse quadro que, quando vemos a confrontação sistémica da China com a Europa, nomeadamente com um processo de sanções contra colegas nossos ou a sistemática violação dos direitos humanos e do Estado de direito, temos que dizer claramente a partir daqui que não compactuamos com isso.

Essas ações da China têm, por isso, de ter consequências. Ainda há dois dias houve eleições em Macau. Se, na maioria dos países, a realização de eleições é a expressão maior da democracia, fique bem claro que as eleições em Macau não o foram. Violando abertamente o acordo com Portugal na altura da entrega de Macau, as autoridades chinesas excluíram das eleições todos os candidatos que representavam abertura política e independência relativamente ao governo de Pequim.

É inaceitável! A entrega do território foi feita com a garantia de que a democracia seria respeitada naquela região. Se a China não respeita acordos como este, assinado ao mais alto nível com um Estado-Membro da União Europeia e depositado nas Nações Unidas, como podemos acreditar que respeitará outros?

Queremos cooperar e negociar com a China, mas não o podemos fazer sem muito exigentes as condições.

 
  
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  Nathalie Loiseau, au nom du groupe Renew. – Madame la Présidente, une minute pour parler de la Chine, l’organisation de nos débats frise le surréalisme – Joseph Borrell l’a noté tout à l’heure et il a raison. Je vais donc éviter les propos généraux et me concentrer sur un point précis, celui de la présence de la Chine dans les universités et la recherche européenne.

Dans ce domaine comme dans d’autres, notre naïveté laisse sans voix. Nous n’avons pas prêté assez attention aux secteurs stratégiques, souvent dans la zone grise entre le civil et le militaire, dans lesquels la coopération scientifique avec la Chine foisonne. Nous avons laissé les instituts Confucius se multiplier et dicter, là où ils s’implantent, les sujets de recherche autorisés et ceux qui sont interdits lorsqu’il s’agit de la Chine. Nous ignorons qui sont les chercheurs européens que Pékin a convaincus de travailler pour la recherche chinoise et les conditions dans lesquelles ils mettent leurs savoirs au service d’un pays et souvent d’une armée, l’Armée populaire de libération, dont les ambitions devraient nous inquiéter.

En résumé, nous avons accepté sans réagir une dépendance croissante de nos universités aux coopérations avec la Chine, au risque d’un pillage de nos savoirs et d’une censure chinoise dans notre recherche. Il est temps d’imposer la transparence là où règne l’opacité, de ne plus laisser nos universités faire n’importe quoi en ordre dispersé et de construire une véritable stratégie de souveraineté scientifique de l’Europe.

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, let me first thank Ms Vautmans for a very good report and for all the efforts at keeping this House united – and indeed we are. We are also self—confident. We don’t believe in defeatism and declinism. We think that if Europe mobilises our positive energies, we can well stand up to the Chinese challenge.

But we have to acknowledge – and it’s long past time – that we believed that this was just about trade. This is much more about geopolitics and on many fronts increasingly we see that the systemic rivalry is coming to the fore. I would hope we would have more opportunities for cooperation on climate policy, for instance.

But what is it that China tells us? They say we’re not willing to be a partner on climate unless you stop criticising our atrocious human rights record with regard to Xinjiang. This is not what we are willing to accept. We are proposing positive European policies to create alternatives, like an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative. We want to stop the import of slave labour products.

We will continue telling Ms Merkel and all the others that CAI will remain in the freezer until China changes course. We will uphold the solidarity with Lithuania and we are encouraging our leaders not to go to Beijing, not to accept invitations to the Olympics, if the Chinese human rights situation does not change.

For this policy, on which we have been united for quite a while in this House and which is a policy of pride and confidence, we would hope we get support also from the European Commission and the Member States.

 
  
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  Anna Bonfrisco, a nome del gruppo ID.(inizio dell'intervento fuori microfono) ... esercitare la concorrenza sleale, lo spionaggio della proprietà intellettuale, umiliare le libertà, degradare la dignità umana, disseminare disinformazione, epurare i dissensi e le diversità politiche, filosofiche e religiose? No, non è accettabile!

Usare le tecnologie emergenti per espandere la coercizione e consolidare l'intrusione, svuotando la privacy individuale non è etico e nemmeno umanocentrico.

Questi aspetti rendono la Cina una calamità e questo lo ricordiamo specialmente alla Russia.

Pertanto invitiamo gli Stati membri e il Servizio esterno a investire in una più stretta cooperazione con partner democratici con i quali condividiamo i valori, i valori dell'umanità.

 
  
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  Hermann Tertsch, en nombre del Grupo ECR. – Señora presidenta, estamos aquí ante un gran informe, el informe de la señora Vautmans, que, realmente, por primera vez en esta Cámara —quizá por primera vez en la Unión Europea—, presenta una panorámica general de una gran amenaza para nuestra civilización, una gran amenaza para nuestra seguridad como es en este momento China.

Estamos al final de un inmenso malentendido que empezó hace cuarenta años, cuando pensamos todos que el acercamiento al capitalismo iba a hacer de China un país lentamente cada vez más tolerante, cada vez más plural y cada vez más abierto. Ha sido lo contrario.

En este momento, llevamos diez años con un líder que se ha convertido realmente en un dictador como solo Mao lo fue, y con un endurecimiento de la situación dentro de China. Las actitudes de China fuera de allí son cada vez más agresivas y más amenazadoras. La represión interna es inmensa y la actitud frente al resto del mundo es absolutamente arrolladora y existe un matonismo que nos amenaza y nos intenta amedrentar a todos.

Por eso, tenemos que tener un concepto muy, muy claro de lo que es China en este momento. Tenemos que tener un concepto muy claro de que tenemos que tener una política global y general hacia ella. Y tenemos que tener todo lo contrario de lo que se ha querido con esas tentaciones de nuevos acuerdos de inversiones.

Tenemos que tener una política de resistencia frente a una agresión inmensa que se nos echa encima.

 
  
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  Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, en nombre del Grupo The Left. – Señora presidenta, la Unión Europea siempre ha tenido una relación hipócrita con China: a nivel comunitario fomentando la tensión, mientras los Estados miembros por separado vemos cómo hacen grandes negocios y malvenden recursos fundamentalmente estratégicos.

La nueva estrategia de la Unión Europea con China debe abrir una ventana de oportunidad para, de una forma transparente, estabilizar y modernizar una relación basada en el diálogo y la cooperación para poder encontrar soluciones a problemas que suponen un gran reto global.

El cambio climático y sus consecuencias, el retroceso mundial de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, la falta de recursos naturales, la insuficiencia alimentaria en tantos lugares del mundo, entre otras muchas urgencias, nos obligan a dedicar todos nuestros esfuerzos al desarrollo de una política de cooperación basada siempre en principios y derechos fundamentales claros con todos los actores necesarios para lograr de verdad un cambio real.

Que esta relación que tantos beneficios está generando para unos pocos dentro de la Unión Europea se ponga al servicio de la justicia medioambiental, económica y social en el ámbito internacional. Utilicémosla para avanzar en derechos humanos y justicia global.

 
  
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  Christophe Hansen (PPE). – Madam President, the EU needs to steer, once and for all, an independent course with regard to China and the newly—emerged multipolar world. Therefore, we need a unilateral autonomy to be able to enforce our rules for all players on our single market, European or not – for example, by means of an instrument to fight distortive foreign subsidies – especially since the CAI, as Reinhard Bütikofer said, is in the freezer for the moment.

The real litmus test of our strategic autonomy for me would be a deepened economic relation with Taiwan, not as a provocation, but as an affirmation of our agency. We also need bilateral engagement through dialogue before all, but this also means standing up for what’s right. An import ban on goods produced with forced labour is long overdue. What is happening in Xinjiang cannot be explained away as a difference of understanding between East and West, as some people are doing here in this House.

Multilateral pressure is, of course, important and this means to uphold a good constructive dialogue with the US and Japan to go ahead and uphold our democratic values. What all these initiatives have in common is the need for coordination. Therefore, we need a China task force that brings together all the Member States so that we sing from the same hymn sheet. This is long overdue, Commissioner.

 
  
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  Sven Mikser (S&D). – Madam President, the minute only allows me to make three brief points.

First, I believe it’s a very solid report and it reflects very strong unity among the major political groups in the Parliament when it comes to our approach to China. I would like to congratulate the rapporteur Hilde Vautmans on that.

Secondly, China is no doubt a rising global power, and the higher it rises, the more our relationship with China moves into the realm of strategic rivalry. It’s a relationship that is multifaceted and complex. We are looking for a comprehensive approach to China that would cover a variety of different policy areas, and this quest, if it has underscored anything, I think it is the need for greater unity among European Union Member states, but also the need for a greater EU strategic autonomy across a variety of policy areas, from security to trade to industrial and technological development.

And finally, the human rights dialogue has been and will be a part of that complex relationship, and we cannot accept any attempts by China to intimidate us by imposing arbitrary sanctions on Members of this Parliament, and our actions must be guided by solidarity with the colleagues who have been targeted by such sanctions.

 
  
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  Marie-Pierre Vedrenne (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, si le dialogue avec Pékin peut être nécessaire pour lutter contre le changement climatique, sur les autres champs, nous devons faire preuve de fermeté. La Chine doit notamment s’engager à respecter pleinement les règles fixées par l’OMC et œuvrer à sa réforme.

Sur l’accord sur les investissements, notre message demeure clair: il est inenvisageable que nous procédions à quelque vote ou étude tant que la Chine maintient ses sanctions contre nos institutions. Et quand bien même cet accord est gelé, la Chine doit honorer ses engagements de ratifier et de mettre en œuvre les conventions de l’OIT sur le travail forcé. Nous ne cautionnerons pas les pratiques inhumaines envers la minorité ouïghoure ou envers les Hongkongais.

Madame la Commissaire, il est grand temps que l’Europe se dote d’instruments adéquats, notamment un mécanisme pour interdire l’importation de produits issus du travail forcé ou l’instrument visant à contrer les mesures coercitives. Il est grand temps d’assurer le respect de nos valeurs, la promotion de nos ambitions et la cohérence dans notre action.

 
  
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  Maximilian Krah (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, meine lieben Kollegen! Es ist ein denkwürdiger Abend: Wir haben uns erst ganz überwältigend klar gegen Russland positioniert, wir positionieren uns jetzt nicht minder klar gegen China – kurzum: gegen jeden, der es irgendwie anders meint als wir. Ich höre in diesem Haus oft etwas von Neokolonialismus, und wie gut es sei, dass wir mit der kolonialen Vergangenheit gebrochen haben.

Aber wenn der Westen, wenn Europa meint, es müsse die ganze Welt belehren: Ist das kein Neokolonialismus? Der westliche Universalismus und die westliche Weltordnung sind im 21. Jahrhundert nun einmal vorbei. Die alten Entwicklungsländer werden wieder stark, und natürlich werden sie sich nicht nach dem richten, was wir wollen, sondern wir müssen in einen Dialog mit ihnen treten, der zunächst einmal davon ausgeht, dass wir gleichberechtigt sind. Das nennt man Diplomatie.

Und da, wo wir uns danach richten, haben wir Erfolg. Und auch hier gilt, dass die Menschen draußen klüger sind als wir hier im Haus, mehrheitlich: Bei Nord Stream 2 sind es drei Viertel, die nach den Umfragen für die Fertigstellung waren. Bei China sind es 78 Prozent, die nicht in einen neuen Kalten Krieg gerissen werden können – zumindest in Deutschland.

Nehmen Sie sich die Wähler zum Vorbild und lassen Sie sich nicht in einen Kalten Krieg treiben!

 
  
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  Anna Fotyga (ECR). – Madam President, I congratulate Hilde Vautmans on her report. I also commend the tone and substance of today’s debate in comparison to last December’s EU—China Summit. It is real progress. We are very realistic in our response to Chinese diplomacy and policies. I stress the necessity to stay in solidarity with countries like Lithuania, Czechia and also with Taiwan – and with our colleagues here in the European Parliament – to counter Chinese coercion.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz (The Left). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Im 21. Jahrhundert wird es nicht mehr mit Machtpolitik gelingen, einem Fünftel der Weltbevölkerung unseren Willen aufzuzwingen. Unsere Generation steht vielmehr vor der historischen Aufgabe, den Frieden zu wahren, um globale Aufgaben wie den Klimawandel, die Armutsüberwindung und technologische Umbrüche zu bewältigen.

Dabei auf Dialog, Kontakte und prinzipielle Debatten zu verzichten, ist keine sinnvolle Alternative. Saubere Mobilität wird gemeinsam konstruiert werden müssen. Menschenrechte, individuelle wie soziale, können und müssen wir entschieden in Kooperation und Dialog verbessern, Verständigung herstellen über Xinjiang, Hongkong, Taiwan, Probleme und Chancen der wirtschaftlichen und handelspolitischen Verflechtungen und Abhängigkeiten – auch über das umfassende Investitionsabkommen zwischen der EU und China. Das heißt, gemeinsam mit den USA, mit weiteren Akteuren und eben insbesondere mit der Volksrepublik China das globale Gefüge auf friedliche Weise neu zu organisieren.

 
  
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  Andrius Kubilius (PPE). – Madam President, first of all I would like to thank the rapporteur for a really good report. I will try to spend my minutes on some comments on Chinese policy towards EU Member States – this means Lithuania.

The government of my country, Lithuania, in the spring decided to leave the so—called 17+1 format, which China created for relations with Central Europe in order to split the EU. Also, our government decided to upgrade relations with Taiwan and decided to open a Taiwanese, not Taipei, representation in Vilnius.

Of course, China became very angry over Lithuania, recalled the ambassador, and our business in China experienced different pressures and sanctions. I would like to thank all of you for the support and solidarity which you have shown to us.

We in Lithuania, several years ago, saw the same behaviour against Lithuania, against our business, shown by Russian authorities. We survived and we learnt a lesson. Business with an economy which is led by authoritarian regime is a risky business, very risky.

So today we need to send a clear, simple message. Business with China or in China is a very risky business. Second, China is big, we as Lithuania are small, but we shall not be defeated because we are together.

 
  
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  Maria Arena (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, tout d’abord, je tiens à remercier Hilde pour le travail exceptionnel, excellent qu’elle a fait dans le cadre de son rapport. Ce rapport fait effectivement la part belle à la question des droits de l’homme dans notre relation Union européenne et Chine.

Quand on parle de droits humains avec la Chine, on comprend le fossé qui existe entre un modèle européen et un modèle chinois. Travail forcé, camps de rééducation, persécution des différentes minorités, entrave à la liberté d’expression et d’association et à la liberté de la presse, arrestations arbitraires des militants prodémocratie, Hong Kong, Taïwan, Macao, pour ne pas parler du Tibet... Mais ces violations massives des droits de l’homme qui sont vécues en Chine, la Chine essaye de les exporter au travers de ses partenariats avec d’autres pays, au travers du multilatéralisme, dans lesquels elle impose une vision chinoise, mais aussi parfois dans nos entreprises privées, où elle fait pression pour licencier des personnes qui auraient pris des positions en faveur de la démocratie, ou encore au sein même de ce Parlement quand elle nous met sous sanctions.

Dans ce rapport, nous disons donc comment nous devons travailler avec la Chine, sans naïveté. Bien sûr, la Chine est un acteur mondial, mais nous devons avoir une autonomie stratégique vis-à-vis du modèle chinois.

 
  
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  Marco Campomenosi (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il fascicolo Cina lo conosciamo tutti, è molto complesso, e devo dire che la risoluzione, rispetto a un atteggiamento che il Parlamento aveva in passato un po' più timoroso, credo abbia come novità il fatto di essere più ambiziosa.

Sicuramente è merito della relatrice, di chi ha lavorato su questo fascicolo, ma anche perché la situazione è molto deteriorata: la situazione nel Mar Cinese meridionale; le provocazioni a Taiwan; le ingerenze in aree molto delicate, come l'Afghanistan; l'Africa che è depredata dalla Cina; i paesi che sono anche indebitati.

Poi nella commissione per il commercio internazionale (INTA) parliamo molto di alcuni aspetti: l'impatto che ha la Cina sul mercato delle materie prime, le restrizioni all'export, la ripartenza delle imprese europee a rischio a causa anche di alcune situazioni. Ecco, tutto questo però non vale più se nei confronti e sui temi dei diritti umani, Hong Kong ma non solo, non siamo abbastanza coraggiosi e forti, per farci rispettare oltre che per difendere cittadini inermi.

 
  
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  Assita Kanko (ECR). – Voorzitter, eerst en vooral wil ik de rapporteur, mevrouw Vautmans, bedanken voor haar werk. Dit is een zeer belangrijk dossier. Ik kan mij vinden in de grote lijnen en de kritische ondertoon van dit verslag over een EU-strategie ten aanzien van China, waarin rekening wordt gehouden met het veelzijdige karakter van de betrekkingen van de EU met China. Het is daarom noodzakelijk dat in deze strategie actiemiddelen worden voorgesteld om te reageren op de verschillende rollen van China: samenwerkings- en onderhandelingspartner, economische concurrent en systemische rivaal. Samenwerking mag niet uitsluiten dat er kritische noten worden geplaatst bij de situatie van de mensenrechten in China, de mensenrechten in Hongkong, de behandeling van onze bedrijven, Chinese cyberaanvallen en pogingen tot culturele onderdrukking en de moderne kolonisatie van Afrika.

Ik denk en ik vrees eigenlijk dat we hier weer heel streng zullen zijn met woorden, maar niet actief genoeg met wat we daarna moeten doen. Daarmee moeten we opletten.

 
  
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  Karlo Ressler (PPE). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, kolegice i kolege, kao drugo najveće svjetsko gospodarstvo Kina je danas globalni akter kojeg je nemoguće zaobići. Kina je ogroman trgovinski partner, a kineske tvrtke investiraju u brojne projekte diljem Europe.

Međutim, jasno je i da Kina nije dio našeg kulturnog civilizacijskog kruga. I ne samo to, nego je jasno i da imamo radikalno različita poimanja o uređenju društva i zato u našim odnosima moramo inzistirati na poštivanju međunarodnih obveza, na poštivanju ljudskih prava i na pravilima koja vrijede za sve.

Europske kompanije moraju imati pristup tržištu i natjecati se pod ravnopravnim uvjetima. To će biti ključno u definiranju naših budućih odnosa. No, i više od toga naše odnose, naš važan, a ne i uvijek i jednostavan odnos, odredit će i imperativ principijelne suradnje u ključnim globalnim pitanjima, što svakako uključuje i suočavanje s klimatskim promjenama.

 
  
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  Bernd Lange (S&D). – Frau Vorsitzende, Frau Kommissarin! Erst einmal herzlichen Dank an die Berichterstatterin, Frau Vautmans, für den guten Bericht und für die gute Kooperation mit dem Handelsausschuss, weil natürlich in den Beziehungen zu China die Handelspolitik eine ganz entscheidende Rolle spielt.

Ein chinesisches Sprichwort sagt: „Lieber auf einem neuen Weg etwas stolpern, als auf dem alten Weg auf der Stelle treten.“ Und das ist genau das, worum es gehen muss. Wir wissen alle ob der Situation in China. Aber wir wissen auch, dass wir in bestimmten Bereichen kooperieren müssen. Insofern ist es richtig, dass wir hier über die Frage eines Instrumentes zur Absicherung der öffentlichen Beschaffung nachdenken, dass wir klarmachen, dass illegale Subventionen nicht akzeptabel sind auf dem Binnenmarkt, dass wir ein Lieferkettengesetz haben wollen.

Wir wissen aber auch, dass wir China im Rahmen der WTO und beim Klimaschutz brauchen. Insofern: Beide Elemente sind hier mit drin. Und das ist genau richtig so. Neues Denken – ja, aber auch mit dem klaren Selbstbewusstsein unserer Interessen. Deswegen: klare Kante, aber eben kein engstirniges Denken.

 
  
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  Charlie Weimers (ECR). – Madam President, I congratulate rapporteur Vautmans on a good report. Now, the EU funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The purpose? A European virus archive, expressly aimed at, and I quote, ‘the production of viruses’. That is a fact. Those EU funds may have contributed to the dangerous gain-of-function research that could be the source of COVID-19.

If the pandemic was indeed caused by a lab leak, ensuring this never ever happens again must be at the heart of our EU-China strategy. No more cover-ups. A full investigation. That is why this House should launch a special committee to examine the origins of COVID-19 and whether any EU funding provided to the Wuhan Institute directly or indirectly contributed to, or enabled, gain-of-function research.

 
  
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  Rasa Juknevičienė (PPE). – Madam President, I will talk about the part of the Chinese nation that is called Taiwan. This country is probably the most important today when we think about China’s future, not to mention Hong Kong, whose democracy-preserving leaders are already in jail.

The government of my country has already announced that a Taiwanese Representative Office will be established in Lithuania. Many in the EU support it. The US has already expressed strong support to Lithuania.

I urge the Commission and the Council to support Lithuania and Taiwan in developing cultural, economic and diplomatic relations, and to condemn China’s economic sanctions against Lithuania over this issue. Lithuania and Taiwan setting up representative offices did not violate the EU’s ‘One China’ policy. I call for a real action to contribute to a safer EU, a safer world. Only by supporting democracies can we contribute to that.

 
  
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  Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, nous sommes le 14 septembre 2021 et des millions de Ouïghours sont toujours parqués dans des camps de concentration en Chine; non pour ce qu’ils font, mais pour ce qu’ils sont. Je vous lasse, sans doute, à sans cesse revenir sur ce crime contre l’humanité, mais cela fait cinq ans que ces camps existent. Cinq ans que des multinationales cupides bénéficient de l’esclavage d’un peuple. Cinq ans que nos dirigeants refusent d’agir pour que cesse l’horreur. Nous savons pourtant les mesures qu’il nous faudrait prendre: bannissement des produits de l’esclavage de nos marchés. Ce n’est toujours pas fait. Alors, faisons-le. Sanctions des plus hauts responsables de la répression, comme Chen Quanguo, l’architecte de la déportation des Ouïgours après avoir été celui de la répression des Tibétains. Ce n’est toujours pas fait. Alors, faisons-le.

Chers collègues, des centaines de milliers de jeunes partout en Europe se mobilisent pour briser le silence qui entoure la disparition d’un peuple. Je ne suis aujourd’hui que leur écho dans cette enceinte. Écoutez-les. Ils sont l’honneur de l’Europe. Ils nous conjurent d’agir. Alors agissons!

 
  
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  Bert-Jan Ruissen (ECR). – Voorzitter, ook van mijn kant dank aan de rapporteur, mevrouw Vautmans, voor haar uitstekende verslag. Ik ben het met haar eens dat we vanavond heel erg duidelijk moeten zijn. Zolang China doorgaat met het schenden van mensenrechten, het opsluiten van Oeigoeren, het vervolgen van christenen en het vernietigen van de democratie in Hongkong, kan van een investeringsovereenkomst met de EU geen sprake zijn.

China moet ook niet denken dat de problemen wel zijn op te lossen door alleen maar de sancties op te heffen en in de marge wat aan te passen. Nee, er zijn echt fundamentele aanpassingen nodig, zeker op het vlak van de bescherming van christenen en andere religieuze minderheden.

Wat dan niet helpt – en dan kijk ik naar de vertegenwoordiger van de Commissie –, is dat de EU-gezant voor godsdienstvrijheid, Christos Stylianides, na vier maanden alweer vertrekt. Zo wordt het natuurlijk nooit wat met de broodnodige diplomatie op dit terrein.

Mijn vraag aan de Commissie is dan ook heel concreet: kunt u garanderen dat er snel een volwaardige opvolger komt die wel bereid is zich langere tijd en met hart en ziel in te zetten voor hen die worden vervolgd?

 
  
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  Ivan Štefanec (PPE). – Madam President, first, while recognising the importance of dialogue with China, the EU has every interest in an open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

I am looking forward to seeing the Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in this region, because I do hope that this timely initiative will allow us to boost cooperation with other like-minded democracies. Speaking of this, I would like to underline the necessity of focusing our attention on important regional partners willing to work with us, such as Taiwan.

I do believe that Taiwan, being a like-minded partner to the EU, can contribute its experience and expertise in many areas, including on matters relating to trade, technology, critical supplies, or the fight against disinformation, and therefore can be an excellent partner for us.

This is also the moment to urge the Commission and the Council to further demonstrate solidarity with Lithuania over its sovereign decision to conduct cultural, economic and diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and to condemn China’s economic sanctions on Lithuania over this issue.

 
  
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  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – Voorzitter, eerst en vooral een dikke proficiat aan Hilde voor dit verslag. Ze is erin geslaagd een duidelijk standpunt te verwoorden met een kamerbrede meerderheid. Dat is fantastisch. Tegelijkertijd moeten we ook toegeven dat we misschien een beetje te laat zijn met dit duidelijke standpunt. Veel te lang zijn we gewoon heel erg naïef geweest. We hebben lang gedacht dat China wel zou democratiseren en volgens de regels zou spelen. Niets is minder waar.

Daarom, mevrouw de commissaris, wil ik vandaag de nadruk leggen op onze eigen initiatieven en alles wat we doen rond handelsbescherming, buitenlandse investeringen en buitenlandse subsidies. We moeten oneerlijke praktijken heel hard aanpakken en tegelijkertijd de link leggen met de mensenrechten, de Oeigoeren en dwangarbeid. Het moet mij van het hart, mevrouw de commissaris, dat het initiatief inzake zorgvuldigheid te lang op zich laat wachten. We moeten er nu aan beginnen.

Ten slotte is het ook tijd dat we aan Taiwan een duidelijk signaal geven dat we achter hen staan en dat we willen beginnen met de onderhandelingen over de investeringsovereenkomst.

 
  
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  Isabel Santos (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, é impossível discutir uma nova Estratégia UE-China sem falar de Xinjiang, do Tibete, de Hong Kong, mas também sobre Macau e os constantes atropelos à Declaração Conjunta Portugal-China e aos direitos liberdades e garantias aí consagrados.

Não podemos ficar indiferentes à utilização abusiva da pandemia para suprimir liberdades de reunião e manifestação, aos condicionamentos da imprensa, como as instruções dadas aos jornalistas da TDM para que não fizessem notícias consideradas negativas para a China, à proibição da vigília em memória das vítimas de Tiananmen e não podemos tolerar a desqualificação arbitrária e persecutória dos diversos candidatos pró-democracia nas eleições legislativas de Macau no passado domingo, contrariando o apelo da União Europeia em defesa, cito, dos direitos e liberdades garantidos.

Os pacíficos cidadãos de Macau responderam com um aumento de 13 % da abstenção e um crescimento exponencial do número de votos brancos e nulos. A União Europeia não pode ficar sem reação. Não haverá qualquer acordo com a China enquanto continuar a violar os acordos estabelecidos com países da União Europeia.

 
  
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  Jutta Urpilainen, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, thank you for the very good debate. I think the debate today is testament to your continued interest and engagement in the content and strategic direction of our EU-China policy. It also conveys a sense of urgency, reflecting an overall downward trend in our relations, but also recognises that we must stand together in our engagement with China at bilateral, regional and multilateral level if we want to bring our points across.

Let me stress once again the need to maintain a multifaceted approach to China. This means remaining open for dialogue and engagement to pursue the ambitions of global public goods and the Sustainable Development Goals, defending our values and citizens in a spirit of unity and solidarity, stepping up our efforts to continue closing loopholes and beefing up our resilience. I trust in the support of this House for the pursuit of this strategy.

 
  
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  Puhemies. – Keskustelu on päättynyt.

Kirjalliset lausumat (171 artikla)

 
  
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  Tom Vandenkendelaere (PPE), schriftelijk. – Net zoals Rusland is China een systemische rivaal van de Unie waarmee onze relaties een geostrategische dimensie hebben. Naar beide landen toe moet onze strategie gebaseerd zijn op beginselvastheid ten bate van onze kernwaarden en de belangen van onze welvaart en veiligheid, maar ook blijven voorzien in ruimte voor kritische dialoog en samenwerking. Vele uitdagingen op wereldschaal – die alleen in multilateraal verband efficiënt kunnen worden aangepakt –, maar ook rivaliteiten in de bilaterale sfeer laten niet toe dat alle bruggen met deze grootmachten worden verbrand. We moeten er dan wel voor zorgen dat we zelf sterk genoeg zijn door eendracht, bereidheid om de nodige budgetten vrij te maken, meer investering in zelfredzaamheid én samenwerking met gelijkgezinde partners in strategische domeinen. In onze relaties met derde landen zoals China wordt economische, technologische en andere samenwerking – met inbegrip van handels- en investeringsakkoorden – door ons geconditioneerd aan de hand van strenge normen die wij aan onszelf maar ook aan anderen willen opleggen in verband met democratie en mensenrechten, klimaatdoestellingen, volksgezondheid... Dit is volkomen gerechtvaardigd uiteraard, maar hoort wel blijk te geven van zin voor evenwicht en het besef dat het uiteindelijke effect van ons beleid niet nadelig mag zijn voor onze eigen welvaart en veiligheid.

 
  
 

(Istunto keskeytettiin klo 20.17)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. FABIO MASSIMO CASTALDO
Vicepresidente

 
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