China-EU relations: Can the EU have its cake and eat it too?

SCMP Newsletter

The European Union (EU) needs China, given their close economic ties. And China needs the EU, particularly given the sharp escalation of tensions between Beijing and Washington.

But ties are starting to fray given recognition in most European capitals that China’s economic model is not compatible with theirs, that there are security risks from China’s increasingly assertive global outreach, and that China does not place the same value on human rights as they do. Tiếp tục đọc “China-EU relations: Can the EU have its cake and eat it too?”

EU tỉnh giấc

  • 25.09.2020, 12:00

TTCT – Cuộc họp thượng đỉnh trực tuyến hôm 14-9 giữa các lãnh đạo Liên minh châu Âu (EU) và Trung Quốc đã được dư luận châu Âu tóm tắt bằng những câu xoay quanh tính từ “ngờ nghệch”. Tỉ như tựa đề: “Châu Âu vẫn còn quá ngây ngô trong tương quan lực lượng với Trung Quốc” của tờ Huffington Post 14-9. EU đã ngây ngô từ bao giờ, như thế nào, đến đâu, và đã thức tỉnh chưa?

EU tỉnh giấc
Quan hệ EU – Trung Quốc đang bước vào giai đoạn nhiều thử thách. Ảnh:

Bài xã luận cùng ngày của tờ Le Monde tái khẳng định nhận xét chua chát trên: “Châu Âu nay phải trả giá cho sự ngây ngô trước Bắc Kinh”. Tờ báo hàng đầu của Pháp giải thích “không son phấn”: “Nhóm 27 nước [tức EU, sau khi Anh đã Brexit] lâu nay mù quáng thèm khát một thị trường khổng lồ, giờ phải rũ bỏ những thỏa hiệp dễ dãi không đi kèm với những điều kiện đủ khắt khe.

Từ giờ châu Âu muốn chấm dứt tình trạng cạnh tranh bất chính của một đối tác mà châu Âu đã ngộ ra rằng cần phải đề cao cảnh giác, và nay sẵn sàng nói ra điều đó”. Tiếp tục đọc “EU tỉnh giấc”

Declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the adoption by China’s National People’s Congress of a National Security Legislation on Hong Kong.

Council of the EU Press release 1 July 2020 10:50

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress adopted the National Security Law in Hong Kong on 30 June and subsequently promulgated it in Hong Kong the same day. The European Union reiterates its grave concerns about this law which was adopted without any meaningful prior consultation of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and civil society. Tiếp tục đọc “Declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the adoption by China’s National People’s Congress of a National Security Legislation on Hong Kong.”

European leaders condemn China over ‘deplorable’ Hong Kong security bill

Beijing move to stamp out anti-government protests poses diplomatic test for UK

The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, against a backdrop of the EU and Chinese flags
 The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said EU member states were discussing possible measures in response to China’s move with international partners. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty

European leaders condemned China’s “deplorable decision” to press ahead with its new security laws in Hong Kong, warning that it will speed up the reassessment of China as a trustworthy economic partner.

The European Union council president, Charles Michel, said “we deplore the decision” and the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said the bloc was now discussing with international partners on any possible measures in response.

The legislaton, passed by lawmakers in Beijing on Tuesday, is aimed at stamping out anti-government protests in Hong Kong. It will criminalise secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, facing the greatest test of British diplomatic clout since the Salisbury poisoning in March 2018, described the imposition of the new law as a grave step.

Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation. China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling.

He told MPs his offer to provide visas, and paths to citizenship, to millions of Hong Kong British National Overseas passport holders stood. “We urgently need to see the full legislation, and will use that to determine whether there has been a breach of the Joint Declaration and what further action the UK will take,” he added.

A further statement to MPs on Wednesday is possible if the bill has been translated and analysed by the foreign office by then.

The UK can try to punish China collectively through sanctions, or through selective sanctions against named individuals, but few expect that they will persuade China to step back.

Donald Trump, already on a pre-election collision course with China, has previously said the US will remove Hong Kong’s favoured trading status. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said on Monday the US would bar defence exports to Hong Kong and would soon require licenses for the sale of items to Hong Kong that had both civilian and military uses.

China has responded by saying it would impose a visa ban on US citizens seeking to interfere with Hong Kong’s security laws.

Pompeo believes he is also making headway in persuading the EU to take a more sceptical approach to Chinese investment, but the EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, on Monday said the EU had to retain the right to view China through its own lenses.

An EU-China Summit set for September has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said it needed to be quickly rescheduled and it was essential that the EU spoke with one voice on China.

By leaving the EU, the UK has less ability to shape the bloc’s sanctions response, but the UK will welcome the signs of Europe-US convergence.

The authority of the US to condemn human rights abuses in Hong Kong has been diminished by revelations last week in the book by the former US national security adviser John Bolton that Trump repeatedly refused to condemn China, believing its cooperation was critical to his re-election chances.

Norbert Röttgen, a senior German CDU member, condemned “the complete lack of transparency” in the new Hong Kong law – which has not been published in full – and said 1 July marked the day “one country, two systems” no longer exists.

Lord Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, said: “This decision, which rides roughshod over Hong Kong’s elected legislature, marks the end of ‘one country, two systems’. It is a flagrant breach of the Sino-British joint declaration – a treaty lodged at the United Nations – and Hong Kong’s mini constitution, the Basic Law.

“It will throttle the city’s rule of law, presenting a major confrontation between what passes for law in China and the common law system in Hong Kong, which has allowed the city to function as one of most important financial hubs in Asia. The separation of powers is in danger of being shattered and the courts politicised by the provision that the chief executive will herself choose the judges for national security cases.”

Benedict Rogers, a co-founder of Hong Kong Watch, called for the appointment of a UN special envoy/rapporteur on Hong Kong, the passing of targeted sanctions against the perpetrators of human rights abuses, the formation of an international contact group to monitor the situation on the ground, and the coordination of an international life-boat policy “to help Hongkongers in need of a lifeline”.

Japan’s ambassador to the EU, Kazuo Kodama, told Euractiv news: “There was an important deal reached between the UK and China […] We understood that Hong Kong’s way of life would be maintained, liberalism and independence of judiciary would be maintained, as well as freedom of speech and press, as these values are protected in the US, Europe and Japan.”

A number of countries are experiencing strained relations with China. Australia, in a deepening security and trade dispute with China, has announced plans for a $A1.35bn (£755m) boost to its cyber security budget, including the recruitment of 500 cyber spies.

India, traditionally a non-aligned country but already at odds with China over deadly clashes on the eastern Ladakh border, on Monday announced it was banning more than 50 Chinese apps, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat. China says it was concerned by the move and seeking details.

France is seeking stronger relations with India, and more recently Russia, to try to build an alliance of countries opposed to China. Other countries would prefer any anti-Chinese alliance to comprise democracies spreading from Europe, the US and Asia, but without Putin.

The test for China will come if it finds that by locking itself into so many disputes with the bulk of its major trade partners, moves such as clamping down on protest in Hong Kong end up backfiring by damaging the Chinese economy, and pushing previously neutral countries into the American orbit.

EU, Vietnam to become brothers in arms

AUGUST 1, 2019

Two sides will sign a new defense agreement on August 5, opening the way for stronger strategic cooperation including in the South China Sea

EU, Vietnam to become brothers in arms
A military officer holds a European Union flag in a file photo. Photo: Facebook


On August 5, the European Union’s (EU) chief diplomat Federica Mogherini will sign a new defense agreement with Vietnam, the first such security deal Brussels will have with a Southeast Asian nation.

It is the latest indication that the EU is trying to forge a closer defense relationship with the region and Vietnam in particular, which is at the heart of disputes with China in the South China Sea. Tiếp tục đọc “EU, Vietnam to become brothers in arms”

China’s Golden Era in Portugal


Why is this medium-sized southern European country being targeted by Chinese investors?

Tiếp tục đọc “China’s Golden Era in Portugal”

Chinese premier offers billions more to Europe

Premier Li Keqiang told eastern Europeans on Monday that China would continue to invest billions in the region. AFP/ATTILA KISBENEDEK

Li said that China’s Development Bank would make available the equivalent of two billion euros (US$2.4 billion) to a new interbank association between the region and China to be inaugurated later in the day. Tiếp tục đọc “Chinese premier offers billions more to Europe”

Whiff of discontent as China bans imports of soft European cheese

Read: Solar industry says EU tariffs on
Chinese imports will raise panel prices

Delicacies such as brie and gorgonzola contain ‘too much bacteria’, officials say, sending expats scrambling to buy up remaining stocks

Soft cheeses such as brie are to be banned from being imported into China. Photograph: Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Soft European cheese has fallen on hard times in China. Customs officials have banned a host of soft, mould-ripened cheese for containing “too much bacteria”, with authorities reportedly alarmed the mould contained colonies of bacteria that had not been officially approved.

The ban mainly affects French and Italian cheese, including brie, camembert, gorgonzola and roquefort, as well as the English delicacy stilton. Tiếp tục đọc “Whiff of discontent as China bans imports of soft European cheese”

Solar industry says EU tariffs on Chinese imports will raise panel prices

Read: Whiff of discontent as China bans imports of soft European cheese

EU duties on Chinese solar modules are set to rise 30% above market levels signalling ‘huge negative effects’ for businesses

Employees assemble photovoltaic panels at Suntech Power Holdings Co.'s factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China
SolarPower Europe said tariff increases on Chinese solar imports would add about €500 (£458) to the cost of a household installation. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Europe’s solar industry has condemned an EU vote to impose another round of duties on Chinese imports, just weeks before a US trade panel is due to rule on similar tariffs.

A Brussels committee yesterday agreed to set minimum import duties for Chinese solar modules and cells that could price them up to 30% above market levels with “huge negative effects” for the industry, according to trade groups. Tiếp tục đọc “Solar industry says EU tariffs on Chinese imports will raise panel prices”

Lựa chọn của Hy Lạp

Thái Bình Thứ Bảy,  2/9/2017, 08:12 (GMT+7)

Du khách Trung Quốc trước trụ sở Quốc hội Hy Lạp. Ảnh: NYT

(TBKTSG) – Những đồng tiền đầu tư của Trung Quốc vào Hy Lạp – quốc gia Nam Âu, thành viên của Liên hiệp châu Âu (EU) mấy năm gần đây bị khủng hoảng kinh tế trầm trọng – đã bắt đầu sinh lợi nhuận, không chỉ tính bằng tiền bạc mà cả bằng ảnh hưởng chính trị ngày càng tăng của Bắc Kinh ở Hy Lạp và cả khối EU.

Trong cơn khủng hoảng kéo dài, Hy Lạp phải cầu xin sự trợ giúp của “bộ ba”, gồm EU, Ngân hàng Trung ương châu Âu (ECB) và Quỹ Tiền tệ quốc tế (IMF). Để được vay tiền cứu nguy, Hy Lạp phải thực hiện các biện pháp khắc khổ như tăng thuế, giảm trợ cấp xã hội, giảm biên chế và giảm lương công chức, tư nhân hóa tài sản quốc gia… dù phải đối mặt với làn sóng phẫn nộ của dân chúng. Giữa cảnh khốn quẫn đó, có một bàn tay chìa ra mà Hy Lạp khó mà từ chối: Trung Quốc. Tiếp tục đọc “Lựa chọn của Hy Lạp”

Wary of Trump, China launches EU charm offensive – diplomats

BRUSSELS/BEIJING: China has launched a charm offensive with the European Union since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, shifting its stance on trade negotiations and signalling closer cooperation on a range of other issues, European diplomats say.

European envoys in Brussels and Beijing sense a greater urgency from China to find allies willing to stand up for globalisation amid fears Trump could undermine it with his protectionist “America First” policies. Tiếp tục đọc “Wary of Trump, China launches EU charm offensive – diplomats”