The EU should view China primarily as a competitor with limited areas of potential interaction. The EU's diplomatic service told foreign ministers this ahead of talks on the state of relations with Beijing.
The unofficial document sent to member states makes clear that China has become an even stronger global competitor for the EU, the U.S. and other like-minded partners, EURACTIV reported. It is therefore important to assess how best to respond to current and projected challenges, the document says.
The document paints a bleak picture of EU-China relations since 2019, when the bloc announced its strategy toward Beijing, followed by trade disputes and sanctions.
In addition to assessing that the definitions of partner-competitor-system rival may be outdated, it lists areas of limited potential cooperation with China, which are summarized in just one paragraph. one EU diplomat said they were a little bit more focused on the partnership part, now they have to focus more on the rivalry part.
According to the document, that includes food security, climate change, humanitarian aid, disaster risk reduction and health.
According to several diplomats, this represents a significant change in tone from the current policy, which refers to China as the EU's strategic partner in addressing global and international challenges. At the same time, the EU diplomatic service advises increased efforts to reduce vulnerabilities in the areas of technology, maritime and space security, innovation and countering misinformation.