EIAS Expert Roundtable Discussion on EU-China Affairs with the Chinese Special Representative for European Affairs.

On 25 May 2022, the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) welcomed a delegation headed by the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, H.E. Mr. Wu Hongbo for an expert roundtable discussion. The roundtable explored key issues in EU-China relations, particularly regarding international trade, governance, and the war in Ukraine. Opening remarks were presented by Lin Goethals, EIAS Director. While underscoring the significance of meeting in-person, as well as his trip across Europe (visiting Belgium and the EU headquarters, Hungary, Romania, Czechia, Germany, France, Italy and Cyprus), the Special Representative stressed the importance of dialogue to facilitate understanding between China and the EU. Two of the main concerns highlighted given the present geopolitical context were the risks of ongoing uncertainty to China’s manufacturing sector and its supply chains; and the danger of the world dividing into confrontational, Cold War-style blocs.

Given the convergence of interests for China in tackling for instance the digital and climate transitions, China and the EU would benefit from working more closely together to collectively tackle global challenges and to assure global trade, peace and stability to benefit the international community. . The discussion addressed mutual concerns as well as divergences in the approaches  between the applied models of governance and values in the EU and China., The topics addressed included climate change, green growth and energy-related issues, the Ukraine crisis, the disruption of supply chains, as well as the different the digital transition, approaches to human rights and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as. However, the EU and China share a common emphasis on ‘soft power’, particularly relating to their respective economic hefts.