Stanley's blog

The postponed 2008 EU-China summit took place in Prague on 20 May. The Beijing 2007 summit was followed by a joint declaration of over 47 paragraphs. The post of 23 December 2007 questions why such a statement has to be issued when very little of its contents were discussed at the summit.

However, after the Prague summit, there was only a press communiqué issued, running to eight paragraphs, saying nothing other than:

1. Participation.

2. Satisfaction with relationship, and commitment to pursuing the comprehensive strategic partnership and willingness to work together for their mutual development, in forward-looking manner based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual trust, reciprocity and win-win cooperation.

3. China-EU relations increasingly transcend the bilateral framework and take on an international dimension. Reaffirmation of their active commitment to peace, stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development in the world, as well as to peaceful resolution of disputes by means of dialogue, effective multilateralism and the United Nations.

4. Discussions on China-EU relations, the global economic and financial crisis, climate change and energy security. Exchange of views on regional issues (Korean Peninsula, Myanmar, Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan). Determination to strengthen cooperation, further work together to address global challenges including the financial crisis and climate change. Continued commitment to enhancing international coordination and cooperation.

5. Satisfaction with the Second High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue in Brussels on 7-8 May, to be followed up in the appropriate dialogues and working groups. Restatement of commitment to comprehensively implementing G20 London Summit communiqué, to resisting and rejecting protectionism and to reaching an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive conclusion to the Doha Development Round at an early date.

6. Joint Statement on Europe-ChinaEurope (sic) Clean Energy Center, EU-China Science and Technology Partnership Scheme, and EU-China SMEs Cooperation Point of Consensus, were signed.

7. Agreed to meet again in Beijing in the second half of the year.

8. Thanks to hosts.

This makes no sense. If the relationship is important, so presumably is the summit. The public have a right to know more than the agenda. Negotiations for a Partnership & Cooperation Agreement have made substantive progress since the last summit, but is not even mentioned. Unless, of course, which is even more worrying, there was no worthwhile exchange of views, with process replacing substance. The EU institutions all ostensibly support transparency. No-one bothered even to explain the change of practice.

After some research (as I was on vacation) I will post an overall assessment of the state of Sino-European relations, beginning with what happened at the summit.

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