torsdag 21. januar 2021

China deal damages EU's human rights credibility, MEPs to say

Transatlantic tensions over how to handle China will come into the open next week when MEPs condemn the European commission for rushing to sign a controversial investment agreement with China that they say undermines the EU’s credibility on human rights.

The criticism, echoing views held inside the Biden administration in the US, will confirm the view of those including the UK that believe the determination of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to secure the China deal, and assert European autonomy from Washington on China, was a geopolitical blunder. The EU had set a deadline of the end of 2020 to reach the agreement.

The most complete analysis of the agreement yet published by the Institut Montaigne finds the agreement could not have been negotiated at a worse time, provides minimal additional market access and contains currently “next to no means” to enforce Chinese assurances over the eradication of forced labour. The commission oversold the deal, largely due to pressure from Merkel, the report’s author, François Godement, told the Guardian.