onsdag 1. desember 2021

The growing rift between Europe and China

On November 4, Raphael Glücksmann, a French member of the European Parliament, concluded his delegation’s visit to Taiwan beside Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen by declaring, “Europe is standing with you.” The paradigm shift in Europe’s thinking on China has been obvious. 2021 has seen the EU freeze a landmark investment deal with Beijing, sanction the country over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and send its first official parliamentary delegation to Taiwan. Once criticized as “soft on China,” with a foreign policy that was a “failure,” the normally staid European Union has changed its tune on the world’s burgeoning superpower — and may be setting an example for the rest of the world.

The EU and China opened the year on a high note. In December, the two inked the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), a deal designed to further open both markets to investors. But though it signaled a rare mutual win in the relationship, criticism followed, and not just from a frustrated Joe Biden administration, which had lobbied the European Commission, the union’s executive body, to hold off on sealing the deal until after Biden’s inauguration. A majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) issued a swift condemnation, accusing the commission of violating the trust of the United States and tarnishing the EU’s reputation on human rights.