Chapter 5: Civil society
Civil society enjoys a privileged role in Europe’s China policies. Europe has aimed at promoting China’s economic opening with civil society at the centre, stressing the advancement of both political and economic rights. Europe has developed solid instruments to ensure an inclusive approach towards civil society. This has guaranteed its power of example. Beijing has been ambiguous in its approach to civil society. It has shown relatively more openness to cooperation on economic, and much less on political rights. This has constrained Europe’s influence. Europe’s weakened power of example as a result of it dealing with its crises has further challenged its ambitions, most notably as a result of the migration crisis, questioning Europe’s claims of inclusiveness and partnership with civil society. Criticism about its ability to find solutions in partnership with civil society has increased. As a result, Europe’s normative power effectiveness has been limited.
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