Is the Europe-China love affair in trouble?
Is the love affair between China and Europe in trouble?
At the EU pavilion in Shanghai, the sun is shining on the alliance between the EU and the Middle Kingdom. The European Union shares a pavilion with Belgium at the 2010 World Expo. Under the “Movement and Interaction” theme, the presence is positive and dynamic. After Europe Day on May 9, next Sunday the Belgian Day is on the programme. Prince Filip of Belgium will pay a visit to the event.
But will high hopes, positive thinking and royal visits be enough to maintain the marriage between Europe and China? Under the title “How China walks over Europe”, Presseurop picks up the article of Pramit Pal Chaudhuri of the Hindustan Times. The EU became China’s number one trading partner, but the trade deficit ballooned to nearly 170 billion euros — in Beijing’s direction, the Indian editor writes. The Tibetan riots in 2008 and the disappointing Copenhagen climate summit further tainted the happy couple’s pictures.
What can be done? On foreignpolicy.com Jonathan Holslag of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies wrote that "Europe cannot back up its soft power with hard economic capabilities" in the green debate. The European Commission must better pool research projects scattered through Europe and persuade member states to do more.
The same applies to diplomacy. Europe should speak in one voice and with one mouth. With a clear position and insight in the logic and culture of the Chinese decision makers. The gap is real. And unity is the only answer. It is a necessity, in facing the growing Chinese dragon. Then the love between China and Europe can pick up and become truly passionate.