The European Union and Global Engagement

The European Union and Global Engagement

Institutions, Policies and Challenges

Edited by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martínez Arranz and Pascaline Winand Winand

Written by a broad range of international experts, The European Union and Global Engagement examines the current state of the European Union and its relationship with the world. The book presents fresh perspectives on the interplay between EU internal developments and its global engagement. While considering the impact and presence of the EU around the world, the collection has a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. This interdisciplinary book is an essential and accessible resource for students and scholars of European studies, as well as for public servants, business practitioners, researchers and journalists. It will appeal to everyone who seeks to understand the fast-moving policy developments in the EU’s actions on the world stage.

Chapter 14: China and the European Union: high hopes, clear conflicts

Alfonso Martínez Arranz and Gudrun Wacker

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international relations


The European Union (EU) is China’s most important trading partner. For Europeans, as for many others, China represents the future. The EU is also seen with positive sentiment from China. Indeed, Chinese elites harboured hopes that a stronger Union would help build a multipolar world and contain US attempts at hegemony. The recent crisis of the EU has largely dampened those hopes. In addition, both sides also seem unable to transcend ideological differences and build on the extensive trade relations. Yet both China and EU member states have not hesitated to circumvent EU-based initiatives in favour of their bilateral advantage through political (France) or economic (Germany) ties. This chapter presents an overview of these issues and their possible causes and culminates with an analysis of the EU-China trading dispute around solar panels, which in many respects showcases the impediments to building an overarching cooperation strategy. Its successful resolution, however, seems to bode well for the future of the bilateral relations

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