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Takeaways from the EU-China Focus Round Table

Takeaways from the EU-China Focus Round Table

EU and China to strengthen international cooperation in times of Global Crisis

Only a few days ahead of the EU-China summit via video conference, the Center for European Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences joined hands with European partners to hold a EU-China Focus Round Table.

The Center for European Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences joined hands with Europe’s leading think tank Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Europe China One Belt One Road Culture and Tourism Development Committee (OBOR) and held an online Focus Round Table on 19th June, projecting a strategic outlook on EU-China relations on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of EU-China diplomatic ties.

This Round Table bears the objective to promote exchange of both European and Chinese views in regard to the international cooperation in times of global crisis. Mr. XU Mingqi, Professor of International Economics, Director of Centre for European Studies at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and President of Shanghai Institute for European Studies gave an initial contribution; other representatives of European institutions and think tanks joined the discussion and shared their views.

Here are some takeaways on the Round Table.

This year of 2020 as a critical year for EU-China relations

This year of 2020 is regarded as a critical year for EU-China relations. The 10th annual EU-China Strategic Dialogue was held on the 9th June and in several days, followed by the upcoming EU-China Summit via video conference and eventually the first-ever summit between the Chinese president and the leaders of all 27 EU member states in the second half of the year.

2020 marks also the 45th anniversary of EU-China Diplomatic Ties. It has been increasingly clear that the EU-China honeymoon phase is over and relations between two parties ahead are expected to be more mature and realistic. Against the backdrop of growing competition and accentuated divergences, EU and China shall be pragmatic, realistic and focus-oriented to identify ways forward.

Partner and competitor, EU and China to set a new agenda for cooperation

Tourism: Facing outstanding challenges imposed by Covid-19 outbreak, EU and China shall further promote cooperation supporting the tourism industry through and after the crisis.

The social and economic impact of Covid-19 illustrates the importance of relations and extensive shared interests between both parties. To enable a strong recovery of Europe’s industry and further international tourism businesses and activities, it is in Europe’s interest to continue to engage with China in this sector, following the momentum created by the emblematic 2018 EU-China Tourism Year and its legacy, in order to regain trust and rebuild its image towards Chinese public in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

People-to-people exchanges: Facing accentuated divisions, EU and China shall put emphasis on people-to-people connectivity, seeking for synergies enhancing sustainability of EU-China relations.

It is moment more than ever to promote intercultural dialogues among people to develop their cross-cultural awareness and intercultural skills. A common strategy promoting mutual understanding between two parties is more than necessary to avoid the trap of ideologicalisation of EU-China relations. People-to-people exchanges between China and Europe implies looking beyond differences in ideology and social systems, of which culture and education exchanges play a role of importance to uncover both economic and social potential for cooperation in new sectors.

There are other sectors requiring a reinforced EU-China cooperation on energy issues, Green Deal, digitalization, international development related to Africa, reforms within multilateral system including WTO.

Center for European Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

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