Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by David S.G. Goodman
Chapter 26: China and the European Union
The relationship between the European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the most important in the modern world. It ranks alongside that of the much higher-profile relationship between the USA and China, and yet it is much less analysed and understood. Despite this mutual importance, the EU and China pose some hard questions for each other, particularly in terms of how they conceptualize each other and find a common framework for engagement. They are markets that are interlocked and deeply interdependent, and globally important economic partners. But this one area of huge success is undermined by an array of political and security areas where their relationship is complex and often contentious. Particularly as a result of a series of constitutional changes since the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, the EU has acquired a number of new political, moral and social ambitions. This places it in conflict and disagreement with a China committed, at least rhetorically, to principles of non-interference and non-intervention beyond the zone of economics. The clash of values between the EU and China is well established and often cited, and it is this area that will be the focus of the discussion that follows.
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