On June 24th, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) organized a roundtable discussion to launch the new ECFR policy report by François Godement and John Fox: ‘A Power Audit of EU-China Relations'. The discussion featured one of the authors of this first-ever pan-European study on EU-China relations, François Godement, ECFR Senior Policy Fellow and Professor and Director of the Asia Centre at Sciences Po. Evan Feigenbaum, Senior Fellow for East, Central, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations acted as the respondent to Professor Godement's analysis. Andrew Small, Transatlantic Fellow at GMF, moderated the discussion.
The ECFR Power Audit argues that China is exploiting the EU's divisions and treating the 27-state bloc with "diplomatic contempt" on issues ranging from trade to the Dalai Lama. Even though China is the EU's second largest trading partner, EU policy still has roots in a time when China was a developing country rather than a diplomatic competitor. Following the failure of the EU to put united demands to China at the G20, the report argues that it is essential that the EU strikes tougher bargains with Beijing and uses the levers at its disposal if it is not to continue to be outmaneuvered. The report contends that a policy of "unconditional engagement", in which the EU grants China economic benefits in the hope that this will lead to democratic reform, has failed to achieve advances since it was introduced in the mid-eighties. And jostling for influence in Beijing between member states - especially France, Germany and the UK - means that they have refused to support each other on contentious issues such as meeting the Dalai Lama.
For a copy of the full ECFR report ‘A Power Audit of EU-China Relations', click here