On September 16, 2021, the European Parliament approved a resolution on a New EU-China Strategy with 570 votes in favor, 61 against and 40 abstentions.
The resolution recommends the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP / HR) and the Council to develop an EU-China strategy that promotes a rules-based multilateral order and takes into account the multifaceted nature of the EU’s relationship with China
The European Parliament proposes a strategy based on six pillars:
1) Open dialogue and cooperation on global challenges, such as: human rights, by developing an ambitious, holistic and results-oriented EU strategy for human rights in China as part of this new EU-China strategy, the environment and climate change, nuclear disarmament, the promotion of the economic recovery from COVID-19, the fight against global health crises, and the reform of specific multilateral organisations
2) Enhanced engagement on universal values, international norms and human rights The Europen Parliament underlines that the consideration and ratification process for the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) cannot start until the Chinese sanctions against European Parliament Members (MEPs) and EU institutions have been lifted;
3) Analysis and identification of the risks, vulnerabilities and challenges
The European Parliament identifies political, social, technological and economic risks associated with China and calls for the EU's dependence on China to be reduced in some critical and strategic sectors.
From an infrastructure point of view, greater coordination is suggested between the Blue Dot Network and the EU connectivity strategy, as an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Issues related to IT security, information and the protection of intellectual property are also highlighted.
4)Building partnerships with like-minded partners, on the protection of human rights, as well as the defence of liberal democracy in the world, exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, the freedom of navigation, and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
The European Parliament expresses grave concern over China’s policies in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait. It underlines that the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region are of critical importance to the EU and its Member States; echoes the concerns expressed by Japan and the US over a new law in China that authorises Chinese coastguard ships to use weapons against foreign vessels violating what China considers to be its territory;
5) Fostering open strategic autonomy, including in trade and investment relations
It is believed that the EU should increase its strategic autonomy by investing in research and innovation in areas such as telecommunications, cloud computing, rare earth mining, semiconductor and microchip manufacturing, while exploring the possibility of pooling resources and create new synergies with other like-minded liberal democracies.
Calls on the Commission to analyse the EU’s economic dependencies in strategic sectors, such as critical raw materials, some of which are located exclusively in China, and highlights the urgent need to diversify access.
The European Parliament is worried that China’s ‘dual circulation strategy’ referred to in its 14th Five-Year Plan will further deteriorate the business environment for EU companies; highlights, once again, its particular concern about the market distorting practices such as, but not limited to, industrial subsidies, the beneficial treatment of Chinese state-owned enterprises, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and data localisation, industrial overcapacity in sectors such as steel.
6) Defence and promotion of core European interests and values by transforming the EU into a more effective geopolitical actor.
The european Parliament warns of the increasing role of China in the Western Balkans; calls in particular for active EU engagement in providing these countries with a viable alternative to Chinese investments.
It is suggested the creation of a dedicated Far-East StratCom Task Force within the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The EP encourages the Commission to develop an EU-wide regulatory system to prevent media companies either funded or controlled by third-country governments from acquiring European media companie and suggests diversifying Chinese-language media in Europe by encouraging cooperation between European media and international partners.
Lastly the EP calls on the Commission to take into account and include in its strategy China’s rapidly growing interest and involvement in the Arctic; calls for preparedness to ensure freedom of navigation on the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route; takes note of China’s investments in research and strategic infrastructure in the Arctic and notes that the EU should not lose ground in this important region.