China-Europe relations and European vision of De-coupling, De-risking

DND Thought CenterChina-Europe relations and European vision of De-coupling, De-risking

By Shazia Anwer Cheema

On April 6, 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron jointly met the press after their talks and a presser followed by the meeting stated that the two presidents agreed that China and France should keep contributing to international cooperation against global challenges.

   

They decided to maintain close communication at the head-of-state level, hold a new round of meetings under the three high-level mechanisms on strategic, economic, financial, and people-to-people dialogues in the year 2023, and resume offline exchanges between legislatures and militaries as soon as possible. The two sides reiterated mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and core interests.

Both jointly witnessed the signing of a series of important cooperation agreements in traditional areas of civil aviation, aerospace, civilian nuclear energy, and scientific and technological innovation.

It was also decided that France will be a guest of honor country at the 2024 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and the seventh China International Import Expo (CIIE).

We know that the year 2024 will mark the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations and the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and both presidents decided to utilize all channels to enhance people-to-people contact to promote exchanges in culture, education, language, publishing, film, television and tourism as well as among localities and the youth, and deepen sports cooperation through the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

This year will also mark the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission who was also present in the presser appreciated the decision to the resumption of bilateral exchanges, dialogue, and cooperation in all areas. The presser added:

China always views Europe as an independent pole in a multi-polar world and China always supports Europe in achieving strategic autonomy, upholds that the China-Europe relationship is not targeted at, subjugated to, or controlled by any third party, and believes that Europe will take an independent approach to developing its relations with China.

I believe this was the punchline of the meeting of three that would steer the future China-EU relationships because time is changing swiftly and global realities cannot be ignored by any partner that matters in international politics.

The EU’s idea of de-coupling and de-risking generally refers to reducing the EU’s dependence on foreign countries for critical goods and services, particularly those related to technology and security, and mitigating the risks associated with such dependence

During the meeting of three, the issue of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict and the role of China to end it must have come under discussion at length. Earlier this month President Xi Ping visited Russia and proposed a twelve-point proposal for the Ukraine conflict solution. I wrote about that in my previous articles citing Western experts claiming that China’s proposal has no validity even if China is willing to play a role of a mediatory. Strangely time is witnessing that Europe is, in China discussing China’s role as a peace broker.

China-Europe relations and European vision of De-coupling, De-risking

This EU top leader’s visit affirms the one prevailing idea of the new global realities is linking of global south with the global north, unlike the previously neat division of NATO and Non-NATO alliances, the world is shifting its polarity mark and trying to be more people-centric instead of bloc centric.

President Macron while talking to University students during his visit to China said “The rise in tension is strategic in nature, between the USA and China, we can also come back to this in a very open way…..”.

This visit gave a clear message that there is a European perspective, and it may or may not align with the US’s perspective. I am feeling this change inside Europe and have been writing about it for more than two years and I don’t agree that this idea came up overnight after Ukraine Crisis I think it has been brewing for a long time, primarily in the aftermath of US-led NATO adventurism in the middle east and Afghanistan which gave Europe a reality check because it was Europe who faced the economic, cultural and demographic brunt, the Ukraine war must have escalated it and as we have seen that when EU was being pushed to supply weapons to Ukraine, few countries were openly reluctant in constant supply of war machinery to Ukraine.

Europe has also shown signs that it is aware of the global south perspective about global conflicts, sanctions, and economic uncertainty. However, the US is still enjoying the joy of being ignorant of the fact that if Tom and Harry are fighting, supporting Tom will be equally bad as supporting Harry, one side of help cannot be called humane help, and another side an anti-human act. It is simple math that supplying arms to Ukraine by the West is an as bad a move as the West propagated in regard to any such help to Russia.

Also according to the non-western perspective, the Ukraine war is not between Ukraine and Russia but between Russia and Western allies, Ukraine is a proxy for the West and paying a heavy price for that.

I am excited to know that whatever I have been writing about the Ukraine Crisis is being unfolded in the same manner. An expert Jacques Reland from the Global Policy Institute France said while talking to a TV channel “Europe knows that the USA keeps its interests first and Europe also does not know who will be the Power in 2024”. Experts also believe that it is the wrong choice for Europe to choose between China and USA because it will be like choosing between Security oriented state and Trade oriented state however Europe wants both but on its own terms. The realization of having European terms is being discussed with the linguistics of “De-risking and De-coupling”.

The EU’s idea of de-coupling and de-risking generally refers to reducing the EU’s dependence on foreign countries for critical goods and services, particularly those related to technology and security, and mitigating the risks associated with such dependence.

De-coupling involves reducing the degree of interdependence between the EU and other countries, particularly in areas where there is a high level of reliance on foreign suppliers or technologies. This can be achieved through measures such as diversifying supply chains, promoting domestic production of critical goods, and investing in research and development to develop new technologies and capabilities.

De-risking, on the other hand, refers to minimizing the potential risks associated with dependence on foreign countries, particularly in areas such as cybersecurity and national security. This can be achieved through measures such as improving cybersecurity and data protection, strengthening national security and defense capabilities, and increasing cooperation with allies and partners.

Overall, the EU’s approach to de-coupling and de-risking is aimed at promoting greater resilience, self-sufficiency, and security in the face of increasing global uncertainties and challenges.

That could equally be the best possible rhetoric to come out of the shadow of the USA by the claim that Europe wants to minimize dependence and reliance on any country of the bloc for that matter, so for being independent and self-reliance they have to make their own decisions, they have to choose wisely and autonomously. Macron’s visit to China would also be a step forward in de-coupling and de-risking.

Note: Writer Shazia Anwer Cheema is an author, columnist, and foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media. She is a doctoral student and researcher in semiotics and philosophy of communication at Charles University in Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: shaziaanwer@yahoo.com

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

 

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