When Sisyphus met Icarus: EU-China Economic Relations during the Eurozone Crisis
The Europe-China economic relationship is too big, and too well developed, to fail, but the protection of past achievements is currently the only factor keeping EU-China policy relations in balance. Cooperation on trade and investment is fraught with misunderstanding, offended egos, discontent, and anger. Beijing and Brussels seem content to wait for China’s new leadership to take office before they attempt to deepen economic and commercial policy cooperation, but there is little reason to believe that the bilateral relationship will radically improve under changes in the Chinese capital. The EU has tried time and time again to pressure China into opening more of its market to European exports by threatening to cut access to its own markets if Beijing does not comply. And China has repeatedly tried to bypass Brussels in its negotiations with Europe, preferring instead to work through member states. But a fractured EU will have negative long-term consequences for China and its economic interests.