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EU-China relations: Taking stock after the 2020 EU-China Summit

30-06-2020

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations ...

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations, against the backdrop of the wide-ranging fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, growing United States-China strategic rivalry, rapid geopolitical power shifts and the erosion of multilateralism. Looking at EU-China relations through the lens of the 2019 EU-China strategic outlook, China is seen as being at once a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. China has been a cooperation and negotiating partner for the EU in several fields where interests have converged. Nonetheless, the different norms and values underlying the EU and Chinese political and economic systems have made cooperation challenging. Shared objectives do not necessarily lead to the same approaches to pursuing them. Economic competition has become fiercer in China, in the EU and in third markets. As the Chinese leadership shows growing assertiveness in disseminating alternative models of governance – at international, regional and bilateral levels, China is also acting as a systemic rival, on an increasing number of issues. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing political and economic challenges in EU-China relations. It has exposed the EU's over-reliance on China for the supply of strategic goods and also China's confrontational 'Wolf Warrior diplomacy', which has involved the use of a wide range of tools, including disinformation campaigns, political influence and economic coercion, in an attempt to alter narratives critical of China's management of the crisis. It has also clearly demonstrated the need for a 'more robust' EU policy on China.

Hong Kong: ¿una ley de seguridad impuesta por Pekín?

11-06-2020

El 28 de mayo de 2020, la Asamblea Popular Nacional (APN) de la República Popular China autorizó a su Comité Permanente (CP) a aprobar una ley de seguridad nacional para Hong Kong sin pasar por el Parlamento de la ciudad, el Consejo Legislativo. Esta ley, que seguramente entrará en vigor antes de las elecciones legislativas de Hong Kong previstas para septiembre de 2020, será muy probablemente un punto de inflexión para el «alto grado de autonomía» de la ciudad, y marcará la prematura desaparición ...

El 28 de mayo de 2020, la Asamblea Popular Nacional (APN) de la República Popular China autorizó a su Comité Permanente (CP) a aprobar una ley de seguridad nacional para Hong Kong sin pasar por el Parlamento de la ciudad, el Consejo Legislativo. Esta ley, que seguramente entrará en vigor antes de las elecciones legislativas de Hong Kong previstas para septiembre de 2020, será muy probablemente un punto de inflexión para el «alto grado de autonomía» de la ciudad, y marcará la prematura desaparición del modelo «un país, dos sistemas» que hubiera debido durar cincuenta años a contar desde1997. El Parlamento Europeo tiene previsto debatir sobre una declaración del Alto Representante en el Pleno de junio.

China's democratic neighbours and coronavirus: Protecting populations without lockdowns

06-05-2020

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily ...

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily lives, where safeguarding the health of the people has not had devastating consequences for the health of the economy, as witnessed in other parts of the world. They have also showed that it is possible to effectively manage the coronavirus threat transparently, without authoritarian methods. Their models, illustrating that it is possible to implement a successful – albeit sometimes unnoticed – alternative to a liberal laissez-faire model or to a drastic lockdown, could become precious assets for public diplomacy and soft power tools. Given the high rate of information and communications technology penetration in the region, it has been easier for the authorities to make use of big data and contact-tracing by smartphone in order to prevent the pandemic from spreading, as well as collect information on those infected. However, this approach has raised issues of privacy, especially as the details collected allow the identification of those infected and could possibly expose them to stigmatisation. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea is a healthy democracy. It successfully held a general election on 15 April 2020, giving substance to the statement made by the European Parliament's President, David Sassoli: 'Democracy cannot be suspended in the face of Covid-19'.

Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

12-02-2020

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

El comercio de la Unión con América Latina y el Caribe: Panorama general y cifras

16-12-2019

Los treinta y tres países que forman la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) son, de forma conjunta, el quinto socio comercial más importante de la Unión. La Unión mantiene acuerdos plenamente funcionales con dos agrupaciones de América Latina (el Cariforum y el grupo de Centroamérica), un acuerdo comercial multilateral con tres países de la Comunidad Andina (Colombia, el Ecuador y el Perú) y acuerdos con México y Chile que están en trámites de modernización. Asimismo, la Unión ...

Los treinta y tres países que forman la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) son, de forma conjunta, el quinto socio comercial más importante de la Unión. La Unión mantiene acuerdos plenamente funcionales con dos agrupaciones de América Latina (el Cariforum y el grupo de Centroamérica), un acuerdo comercial multilateral con tres países de la Comunidad Andina (Colombia, el Ecuador y el Perú) y acuerdos con México y Chile que están en trámites de modernización. Asimismo, la Unión mantiene acuerdos marco interregionales y bilaterales tanto con el Mercosur como con cada uno de sus miembros. Los acuerdos de la Unión que regulan las relaciones comerciales con las agrupaciones y los países de América Latina y el Caribe difieren considerablemente en cuanto a la cobertura y la metodología, en función del momento en el que se firmaron y del contexto de las negociaciones. La Unión está modernizando actualmente los pilares comerciales de sus acuerdos con México (se alcanzó un «acuerdo de principio» en abril de 2018) y Chile (las negociaciones todavía siguen su curso), con el fin de adaptarlos a las normas vigentes sobre acuerdos de libre comercio de la Unión. Si se logra ratificar el Acuerdo de Asociación UE-Mercosur, que incluye un pilar comercial para el que se alcanzó un acuerdo político en junio de 2019, la Unión contaría entonces con acuerdos exhaustivos en materia de relaciones comerciales con casi toda América Latina y el Caribe (con la excepción de Bolivia, Cuba y Venezuela).

Galardonado con el Premio Sájarov 2019: Ilham Tohti

10-12-2019

El espacio para la libertad de conciencia se está reduciendo drásticamente en todo el mundo debido a un aumento del peso geopolítico y geoeconómico de los regímenes autoritarios. El Premio Sájarov a la Libertad de Conciencia es, por lo tanto, más importante que nunca, ya que permite que el Parlamento Europeo llame la atención sobre la difícil situación que viven quienes se oponen a la represión de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, principios en los que se basa la Unión y que ...

El espacio para la libertad de conciencia se está reduciendo drásticamente en todo el mundo debido a un aumento del peso geopolítico y geoeconómico de los regímenes autoritarios. El Premio Sájarov a la Libertad de Conciencia es, por lo tanto, más importante que nunca, ya que permite que el Parlamento Europeo llame la atención sobre la difícil situación que viven quienes se oponen a la represión de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, principios en los que se basa la Unión y que promueve en sus relaciones exteriores, de conformidad con el artículo 21 del Tratado de la Unión Europea. El galardonado con el Premio Sájarov 2019 es un reputado profesor de economía uigur, Ilham Tohti, defensor moderado de los derechos de la minoría uigur y del diálogo con la mayoría han en China. En 2014 fue condenado a cadena perpetua acusado de cargos relacionados con el separatismo, en un contexto de endurecimiento por parte de China de la política de lucha contra el extremismo religioso, el separatismo étnico y el terrorismo, que en la actualidad señala a la identidad uigur como una importante amenaza para la seguridad nacional. El Premio Sájarov está dotado con 50 000 euros, y se presentará en una ceremonia que tendrá lugar en el Parlamento Europeo durante la sesión plenaria de diciembre en Estrasburgo, en presencia de los demás finalistas.

China's growing role as a security actor in Africa

08-10-2019

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate ...

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate armed conflicts, jihadist terrorism or maritime piracy off their coasts. The rising number of violent attacks against Chinese workers, calls from the domestic Chinese audience for action, and surging economic loss are some of the factors that have compelled the Chinese government to react. China has shifted from uncompromising non-involvement to selective and incremental engagement in bilateral, regional and international cooperation on peace and security by nuancing, on a case-by-case basis, the narrow boundaries of its normative foreign policy framework, including the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, that had made a previously inward-looking China for decades a free-rider on global security, provided by the US in particular. As in other fields, China has pursued a two-pronged approach to African security issues, to defend its economic and security interests and to expand its influence in Africa. On the one hand, it has contributed to existing multilateral structures and instruments to foster peace and security. It has participated in UN-led peacekeeping missions to Africa and in the UN-mandated counter-piracy action off the Horn of Africa. Both have provided the pretext for China to accelerate its massive blue-water navy build up, to be present in the Indian Ocean and beyond and to set up its first overseas military base, in Djibouti. On the other hand, it has expanded its military presence by engaging African countries bilaterally through joint drills, military training, and military infrastructure-building and multilaterally through the newly created China-Africa fora on security issues. Against this backdrop it remains to be seen how complementary or competitive the future EU-China security cooperation, which so far has remained in its infancy, will be in seeking 'African solutions to African problems'.

Acuerdos internacionales en curso: El pilar comercial del Acuerdo de Asociación UE-Mercosur

30-08-2019

El 28 de junio de 2019, la Unión Europea (UE) y los cuatro miembros fundadores del Mercosur (el «Mercado Común del Sur»), Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay y Uruguay, alcanzaron un «acuerdo de principio» sobre un acuerdo de libre comercio (ALC) como parte de un acuerdo de asociación (AA) más amplio. Sin embargo, a raíz de la destrucción masiva del Amazonas brasileño a través de incendios forestales a gran escala, tanto los responsables políticos de la Unión Europea como los grupos internacionales de defensa ...

El 28 de junio de 2019, la Unión Europea (UE) y los cuatro miembros fundadores del Mercosur (el «Mercado Común del Sur»), Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay y Uruguay, alcanzaron un «acuerdo de principio» sobre un acuerdo de libre comercio (ALC) como parte de un acuerdo de asociación (AA) más amplio. Sin embargo, a raíz de la destrucción masiva del Amazonas brasileño a través de incendios forestales a gran escala, tanto los responsables políticos de la Unión Europea como los grupos internacionales de defensa del medio ambiente han alzado su voz de manera cada vez más clamorosa para expresar su preocupación por las posibles repercusiones del acuerdo sobre el medio ambiente y el cambio climático. Las asociaciones de agricultores de la Unión con intereses defensivos han criticado ferozmente lo que han calificado de acuerdo de «coches por vacas». Por otra parte, el acuerdo ha sido acogido muy calurosamente por las asociaciones industriales de la Unión y varios subsectores de la agricultura de la Unión con intereses ofensivos. Si se eliminan o reducen sustancialmente las barreras arancelarias y no arancelarias, el potencial de crecimiento del comercio birregional de bienes, servicios e inversiones es significativo. Además, el ALC sería una clara señal en favor del sistema comercial multilateral basado en normas y contra las relaciones de poder en el comercio. Tras la revisión jurídica y la traducción del acuerdo, se presentará al Consejo para su firma. Seguidamente se presentará al Parlamento Europeo para su aprobación. Una vez que el Consejo haya adoptado la decisión de celebración del acuerdo, se presentará a los parlamentos de los Estados miembros de la Unión para su ratificación. Primera edición. Los briefings sobre «Acuerdos internacionales en curso» se actualizan en fases clave a lo largo de todo el proceso, desde los debates iniciales hasta la ratificación.

EU framework for FDI screening

17-04-2019

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers had cast doubt on the effectiveness of the decentralised and fragmented system of FDI screening – in use in only some EU Member States – to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU coordinated cooperation among all EU Member States. The proposal's objective was neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms then used by almost half of the Member States, nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. Instead, it aimed to enhance cooperation and information-sharing on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, and to increase legal certainty and transparency. The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Council adopted their positions in May and June 2018 respectively, and interinstitutional negotiations concluded in November 2018 with a provisional text. That was first endorsed by the Member States' Permanent Representatives (Coreper) and by INTA in December 2018. After the text's adoption by the European Parliament and the Council in February and March 2019 respectively, it entered into force on 10 April 2019, and will apply from 11 October 2020, 18 months later. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Towards a new EU policy approach to China: 21st EU-China Summit – April 2019

08-04-2019

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that ...

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that the context of US-China great power competition looms large and that the EU has adopted more assertive language in its recently issued EU-China strategic outlook, it remains to be seen whether meaningful outcomes will be reached at this year's summit.

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