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China-EU: A common Future

chinaeubook.pngReproduced below are the Contents and the Epilogue of book, edited by Etienne Reuter and myself, which has just been published. “China-EU: A Common Future“, available at amazon, contains a series of original contributions by 35 European and Chinese experts, sometimes joint and sometimes twin, discussing the key issues that are relevant to the EU-PRC relationship.

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Editors’ Introduction v

Foreword vii

A New Agenda xi


1 Key Elements of a Strategic Partnership 3

2 Environment 15

3 Energy 27

4 Security Issues 41

5 The Reform of the UN 57


6 The US Factor 73

7 Taiwan 81

8 China and Its Neighbors 93

9 Japan 107

10 North Korea 123

11 Iran 137

12 Africa 145


13 TheWorld Trade Organization 159

14 Market Economy Status 171

15 The RMB in the Global Currency Market 179

16 The Arms Embargo 189


17 Mutuality: Confucius and Monnet 201

18 Similarities and Differences 207

19 Governance 215

20 Developing a Chinese Civil Society 229

21 Knowledge, Economic Development and Democracy in China 241

22 Promoting Mutual Understanding 249

Epilogue 267

Annex: List of Contributors 269

Index 279

Epilogue Autumn 2007

The opinions and thoughts expressed in this book strike by their diversity and also by their entrenched assertiveness. Coming from different backgrounds and reflecting different interests, the authors highlight some of the problems and prejudices that affect China’s relations with the EU and other countries. China’s reemergence as a first-rank economic and political power, her nationalism, her production and exporting capacity are one side of a coin mirrored by anxieties, concerns and sometimes clamors for protectionism in the EU and US on the other.

There is also the clear perception of a new reality. No big issue on the world’s agenda — energy, the environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and stability—can be solved without China’s active participation.

The EU and China have an inescapable common future, sharing stakes and responsibilities. After 30 years of interaction and cooperation, China and the EU are at a crucial crossroads. They need to generate the political will to upgrade their relationship, to transform it into a strategic partnership transcending trade and investment issues, that will lead internationally to diplomatic complicity and internally to civil society dialogue.

These are historic times. The EU now has 27 member states and is confronted by the necessity to adapt its decision-making, to ensure a balanced economic growth and to restore its political and societal cohesion. The arrival on the scene of new political leaders gives a special relevance to this moment of opportunity. China too is in a phase of redefining its policies, declaring its intention to care for the poorest in its society, but also promoting space exploration and industrial innovation. She is preparing to welcome the world for the Olympic Games and, two years later, theWorld Expo. But for her leaders and the next generation of leaders, internal cohesion as well as regional stability will remain on top of the agenda.

What can the harvest of ideas and suggestions advanced by the authors contributing to this book bring for those in the EU and China, who are now involved in developing the new partnership and cooperation agreement that the political leaders on both sides have called for?

The fact is that cooperation between China and the EU — covering over 25 policy areas — is good. The need for a strong political signal for an upgrade of the partnership should not lead to complex and arcane negotiations which will consume time and resources without guaranteeing added value.

Without waiting for progress in the formal negotiations, lessons can be drawn from this book. They include recommendations that China fully comply with its WTO obligations, in particular market access in services, and that China ratify the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The new strategic partnership should give priority to cooperation in the energy field (security, alternative sources, renewable energy and energy conservation, technology, etc.). Working together on development cooperation (Africa, but not only Africa) should also be a shared goal. Finally, a recurrent theme in the comments in this book is the importance of promoting mutual understanding and people-to-people exchanges at all levels between China and Europe. Mutual understanding helps working together, and working together builds trust.

This book conveys one clear message: Europe and China have a common future, and for the sake of the well-being and prosperity of their people and their countries, and for the sake of peace and stability in their regions and worldwide, they must forge closer cooperation on the whole range of challenges that our planet faces in the 21st century.

Author :


  1. I mostly agree with Stanley Crossick’s conclusions. The paradox in the relationships between Europe and China is that they overall seem to agree on essential points but in reality the misunderstanding is deepening. To overcome this situation, it is absolutely crucial, as Stanley states it, to develop mutual understanding and people-to-people exchanges at all levels between China and Europe.

    Organising this exchange represents an historical challenge of high importance. We started the process in 2007 with the organization of the second China Europa Forum : a “decentralized” dialogue within each socioprofessional category and on all major subjects concerning both our societies (

    It is fascinating to see that beyond the huge differences of context we managed, at the end of 4 working days involving close to a thousand participants, to identify four major questions which structure our common future :
    – to invent a new model of development ;
    – to rely on our cultural heritage from the past and on common values to build the future ;
    – to accept our status of global stakeholders and invent together new rules, new institutions and new methods for an effective global governance ;
    – to re-think the modes of management of the society – governance – to face in an appropriate way coming challenges which are new in scale and in complexity.

    The negotiations between China and Europe on foreign trade deficit, on the effective Yuan value, on human rights, on the implementation of the WTO rules are undoubtly essential. But they cannot prevent a confrontation which could, one day, become violent if we, as European societies, are unable to develop, with the Chinese society, all reflections related to our common future with ambition, patience, perseverance and enthusiasm .

    Robert Cooper, of the European Council, is right to put forward the difference of perception, issued from the culture and history, between the European Union whose construction attempts to overcome traditional States principles and conflicts of interests, and the Chinese society which, and especially after Maoism, sees in the effort to overcome national sovereignty, a potential risk to be fooled. The trauma of the 19th century remains vivid. A dialogue between societies on the challenges of our common future is the only way to overcom the trauma.

    In these conditions, can the European Union ignore to show, in its relations with China and beyond in its relations with other regions of the world, its willingness to support a long lasting people-to-people dialogue? I don’t think so. This dialogue is truly a new border for the European Union.

    Let us not pretend that it would be sufficient for each category of the society to prepare itself, to build this dialogue.
    Of course the business world has all necessary means to accomplish this. He is even structured to do it. There are countless business forums. On the other hand, it has become a duty and even a priority for the European Union, for the President of the European Commission and for the European Parliament to build this new dimension of the public life.

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