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HR/VP Federica Mogherini in the EP on the state of EU-China relations

12 September 2018

On 11 September, on the occasion of the adoption by the European Parliament of its report on the state of EU-China relations, the High Representative Federica Mogherini held a speech on the general state of Sino-European relations.

The report of the European Parliament, authored by rapporteur Bas Belder (ECR, NL), strikes a predominantly cooperative tone and underlines the continued need for the EU and China to cooperate - albeit not without challenges. The report argued that human rights, the rule of law and fair competition ought to be at the core of the EU's engagement with China, and that the EU and its member states must take a much clearer and more united position towards China in order to fully strengthen the EU's collective bargaining power. 

The report furthermore voiced concerns about China's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, which "hampers free trade and places Chinese firms at an advantage." The Parliament furthermore called upon China to adhere to environmental and social standards, and condemmed China's "ongoing crackdown on internet freedom and massive cyberspace surveillance."

HR/VP Mogherini welcomed the report and underlined that China remains a complex partner, and that in the spirit of the EU's China Strategy adopted two years ago, the EU's engagement will remain to take different forms on different issues.

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The EU will continue to encourage China to fulfill its multilateral obligations and respect the multilateral value-based trading system - in that spirit, synergies and pathways for cooperation between China's Belt and Road Initiative and the EU's connectivity projects are welcome. These projects should however be about sustainable development for local communities, and not about crafting new spheres of influence.

Major disagreements prevail in the area of human rights, which the EU will continue to pay attention to in its engagement with China. Mogherini added that this dialogue can help the world move beyond the current chaos, towards a better global order. The dialogue will remain based on clarity, on respect, on the EU's interests and values, benefitting both Europe, China and also the rest of the world.

Find the adopted EP report here and the EP's official press release here.

The original speech of the HR/VP can be found on the EEAS website here