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The China-EU relationship is truly bilateral, but needs to become more symbiotic

First published: Boao Review, 19/08/2015

The China-EU relationship has attracted an increasing focus in the last couple of years. The steady build-up of trade and investment between the two, with the potential for much more, is one reason. There are also political reasons for strong ties but these will depend on circumstances and will. In the EU, China sees a sort of geopolitical foil to counter-balance its relationship with the United States. In China, the EU in general, and Germany in particular, see a major geo-economic competitive threat, which can galvanise a sometimes moribund EU, and an opportunity to exploit innovation and new technologies.

Premier Li Keqiang’s sixth visit to Europe since 2013 in June 2015, and his first  official visit to the EU’s Brussels headquarters took place in the wake of a flurry of other high profile visits. He, himself, had visited Germany, Russia, and Italy the year before, soon after President Xi Jinping had made the first official visit by a Chinese President a few months earlier. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security policy, Federica Magherini visited Beijing in May 2015, soon to be followed by Martin Schultz, the President of the European Parliament. These visits represent the high profile moving parts of a plethora of mostly unremarkable discussions and meetings that take place as a matter of course…Read more: