Written by IDU Vice Chairman David McAllister MEP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament
The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament has adopted a strategic paper on relations with China.
For the EPP Group the European Union’s policy towards China should be based on the following principles: cooperate where possible, compete where needed, confront where necessary. Such an approach allows us to react with flexibility to the evolution of the bilateral relationship.
China is a global power that we cannot and do not want to isolate and, certainly not ignore. The European Union should instead require the Chinese authorities to follow the same rules that China requires of others. This is first and foremost transparency and access to the Chinese market on an equal footing. The EU should not compromise on its values and principles.
In the strategy paper, the EPP Group reiterates its call to ban products produced by forced labour from the EU market and calls for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders and dissidents. The biggest group in the European Parliament also demands an independent and urgent investigation into the allegations of systematic human rights violations – including internment, sterilisations, and forced abortions – taking place in Xinjiang against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities.
The EPP Group also stresses the need for free access to Tibet and reiterates its strong support for Hong Kong’s autonomy, for freedom and the rule of law. The strategy paper expresses concerns at the intensifying Chinese military manoeuvres aimed at Taiwan. The EPP Group calls for the start of negotiations for a bilateral Investment Agreement between the EU and Taiwan.
The COVID pandemic sowed doubts around the globe on whether or not China can be a predictable economic partner. Beijing must realise that threatening other countries is a road to nowhere. China should respect its own international obligations, which is not yet the case. Engagement requires interest from both parties and adhering to existing rules. A principled-based cooperation can benefit both China and Europe.
Please find the full consolidated text of the EPP Group’s strategy paper on China here.