The European Union (EU), led by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, is taking decisive steps to rebalance its relationship with China by formulating a comprehensive ‘de-risking’ strategy. This move is seen as a major shift in Brussels’ approach towards the Asian superpower.
China’s growing economic and political influence has posed significant challenges for the EU. As a result, the Commission’s new approach intends to recalibrate this complex relationship and safeguard European interests more effectively. The initiative stems from the belief that the bloc’s interaction with China should be more strategically balanced and not purely commercially driven.
The ‘de-risking’ strategy includes a host of measures such as intensifying scrutiny on Chinese investments in strategic sectors, reinforcing safeguards against potential cyber threats, and promoting European norms and standards on data and artificial intelligence. It also aims to ensure that European businesses operating in China are protected from unfair practices and are provided a level playing field.
Furthermore, the strategy puts an emphasis on promoting reciprocal access to each other’s markets and establishing a more balanced economic relationship. The EU is set to engage in a more assertive diplomacy to advance European values and interests, particularly regarding human rights issues.
While acknowledging the economic interdependence between the EU and China, von der Leyen emphasized that the new strategy does not aim to decouple from China but to manage the relationship in a manner that respects EU principles and interests.
The plan has been welcomed by several member states, who view it as an essential step in navigating the intricate dynamics of global geopolitics. However, its successful implementation will require concerted efforts, unity, and perseverance from all EU members.
As the world undergoes significant shifts in the power balance, the EU’s ‘de-risking’ strategy towards China could set a new precedent for international relations in the 21st century. It remains to be seen how China will respond to this change in course and what implications it will have for the broader global community.