Chapter 3: The art of influence
European normative power has been at the core of debates on its international ‘actorness’, alongside competing concepts such as civilian power and military power. This chapter examines perceptions on Europe's capacity to act as an international actor in its relations with China. It also provides an overview on China’s global role and influence since the 1978 reform and opening up, and assesses views on their relations. Views on Europe’s influence are unenthusiastic. Agreement persists that transformations in the global distribution of power have negatively impacted Europe's global standing, damaging its power of example to the benefit of China’s international influence. Following financial and political troubles, the Union is seen to be in relative decline, and China’s influence on its territory is seen to be growing. In a multi-layered system burdened by national rivalries, Europe’s fragmentation is perceived to have constrained its influence over China, even more so following the crises.
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