Cooperating with China is key to European integration

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/24 21:08:40

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday that the European Union's "aim is to focus on achieving a balanced relationship" with China, which is also in line with China's efforts. 

China's rise has changed the flow of global capital, technology and trade, and has also created both challenges and opportunities for the EU. 

European countries have never experienced this during their global expansion in the past 500 years. The EU's attempt to adopt a unified policy toward China is understandable. 

However, if Europe can correctly understand today's globalization and strive to maintain its role as a strong force in a multi-polar world, this will not split Europe, but will promote a unified Europe.

Differences in the EU are not entirely due to China's rise; the US is a factor that should not be overlooked. What the US is pursuing is a uni-polar world it dominates. If EU leaders decide based on US requests, differences would not exist. But the EU won't choose to be a puppet of the US because doing so will harm its overall interests and European integration. 

Beijing is a factor that doesn't split the EU, but rather promotes European integration. Besides, Beijing has never wanted to split Europe. China has strengthened ties with European countries under frameworks like the 16+1 format (cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries, including 11 EU member states and five Balkan countries), through which the countries involved will have greater opportunities to interact with each other and deepen their mutual understanding throughout Europe.

Countries which lack a development impetus, such as Portugal, Italy and Greece, are being marginalized in the regional economic integration. Cooperating with China will help them regain economic vitality and their voice in regional affairs. Hence, they are able to make decisions again instead of just sitting and watching.

China's rise has ignited different stands in Europe. However, we hope European countries will have common views. This is in line with China's view of a multi-polar world order. We neither wish that EU follows the orders of the US nor a weak and divided Europe. China has a common interest with Europe on this issue.

China's largest trading partner is concerned about the openness of China's market and wishes that China increase imports to balance trade. If strengthening opening-up is the key to dispelling these misgivings, Beijing is willing to do so and is actually doing so. 

China will also ensure fair competition and a better investment environment. China's imports from the EU in 2018 were nearly 10 percent more than in 2017. And according to media reports, the Netherlands' Internationale Nederlanden Groep is expected to be the controlling shareholder of a joint-stock bank in China, which will be the first of its kind in the country. 

China and the EU need to coordinate amid the complex global situation. A unified EU that takes independent policies is conducive for the coordination and promotion of global economic development. 

Posted in: OBSERVER

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