Blog Post

Other than climate change, can anything else unite Europe and China against Trump?

Some instant takeaways from the EU-China Summit. A timely show of unity, but little real change in interests.

By: Date: June 2, 2017 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

After a short but fruitful visit to Berlin Li Keqiang is now reaching the end of his trip to Europe, attending the EU-China summit in Brussels.

In Germany, Li left with a 2.7 billion gift in the form of Deutsche Bank’s commitment to invest in the Belt and Road Initiative.  In addition, the “reciprocity” concerns generally raised by the German government regarding China seemed to have been less prominent during this bilateral summit. The reason probably lies in Merkel and Li’s joint attempt to appear as the saviorus of multilateralism against an increasingly isolationist Trump.

In Brussels, China and Europe’s seemingly united vision of global priorities looked even more real after Trump’s announcement that the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement.  One could argue that Trump’s announcement was dreadfully timed, considering that the leaders of the other two largest economic blocs in the world happened to be together at the time of the announcement.

Based on the above, one could easily – but hastily – draw a rosy picture of EU-China relations. However, I have doubt that this is really the case, at least for the time being.

First, the European Commission has been negotiating a bilateral investment agreement (BIT) with China for nearly four years, but no indication of a successful conclusion has been given during this summit.

Second, European governments have recently approved the European Commission’s proposal to increase the arsenal of instruments available to fight against dumping. Chinese exports from overcapacity sectors are obviously the ultimate target.  Juncker’s meeting with Li does not seem to have softened the harshness of EU’s incoming anti-dumping measures.

All in all, other than showing unitedness against the US’s unilateralism, especially on climate change, the EU-China summit does not seem to have brought any measurable merging of interests between the EU and China. Europe’s disenchantment with Trump is probably too recent for the EU, a famously slow decision-maker , to pivot towards China just now. This will take much more time – and pain in its long-standing transatlantic Alliance with the US.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Renewing the 2050 Roadmap

The objective of this brainstorm session is to explore how we can improve the quality and the impact of the revisited 2050 Roadmap, set the agenda for revising it, increase ownership of it and analyze the methodological basis of the 2050 Roadmap.

Speakers: Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 22, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

The size and location of Europe’s defence industry

There is growing debate about a common European military policy and defence spending. Such moves would have major economic implications. We look at the supply side and summarise some key facts about the European defence sector: its size, structure, and ability to meet a possibly increased demand from EU member states.

By: Alexander Roth Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 22, 2017
Read article More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

House of Commons

Exiting the European Union Committee

On 19 April 2017 Zsolt Darvas appeared as a witness at the Exiting the European Union Committee, the House of Commons, United Kingdom.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, House of Commons, Testimonies Date: June 20, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Lights on, Africa! Europe must coordinate support for electrification

Patchy access to electricity remains a major challenge for sub-Saharan Africa's economic development. The EU and its member states have many programmes to support electrification in Africa, but fragmentation reduces their impact. A single platform for European support would provide the necessary coordination and leverage.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: June 20, 2017
Read article Download PDF

Policy Contribution

How to handle state-owned enterprises in EU-China investment talks

Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are one of the main obstacles preventing China and the European Union from agreeing a bilateral investment agreement. Creating barriers to prevent Chinese companies acquiring European assets will not solve the problem, but bringing Chinese corporate governance closer to global market principles will be essential to ensure European and Chinese corporates operate on an equal footing in their cross-border investment decisions.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: June 19, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Adieu Paris: what’s next for climate policy if Trump ditches the Paris Agreement?

US President Trump has made it clear that he is not happy with the Paris Agreement. This week he will announce whether the US will withdraw from the Agreement altogether. What might that mean for the global fight against climate change? US decarbonisation is already well underway but the EU would need to step up and defend global climate governance.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: May 30, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

UK economic performance post-Brexit

What’s at stake: Almost a year after the UK voted to leave the European Union, its economic performance has showed mixed results. The risks of a Brexit-induced recession do not seem to be materialising. On the contrary, up until the end of 2016 the UK saw a continuation of strong consumer spending and strong output in consumer-focused activities. However, the UK economy is showing signs of slowing down in the first quarter of 2017, with weak growth in the services sector and business investments. In addition, strong consumption growth started to cool down as individuals’ purchasing power declines due to a weaker exchange rate. This leads to a question whether it is the beginning of the Brexit slowdown. We review the contributions made on this topic in the last year.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Justine Feliu Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 15, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

China cannot finance the Belt and Road alone

The One Belt One Road initiative holds great promise for the global economy, but will need a huge amount of finance. Initial presumptions that China would be able to provide all the finance are now unrealistic. Other partners should consider providing finance for some aspects, especially Europe - which has a lot to gain from the project.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 12, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

China's rising leverage is a growing risk

Worries about the growth in China's leverage are on the rise. Is this growth in leverage sustainable? Alicia García-Herrero finds that the evidence is not so positive so far.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 12, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Financial Times - Bruegel Forum: the future of Europe after the French election

The second event in the Financial Times - Bruegel Forum series will look at how the results of the French elections will affect Europe.

Speakers: Tony Barber, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 11, 2017
Read article Download PDF

Policy Contribution

Central Asia at 25

After a decade of growth based on hydrocarbon booms, Central Asian countries are faced with increasing challenges to complete their transitions to a market economy and towards economic development and integration.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Marek Dabrowski Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 5, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

What are China’s global economic intentions?

At this January's Davos meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced to a surprised audience that China would be the world’s new champion of globalisation. Bruegel scholar Marek Dabrowski agrees that a functioning global trade system is in China's interest.

By: Marek Dabrowski Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 25, 2017
Load more posts