Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power
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Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power

Zsuzsa A. Ferenczy

Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power is a groundbreaking book, offering insights into European influence regarding China’s development, during a period when Europe confronts its most serious political, social, and economic crises of the post-war period. Considering Europe’s identity and its future international relevance, this book examines the extent to which Europe’s multi-layered governance structure, the normative divergence overshadowing EU–China relations and Europe’s crises continue to shape – and often limit – Europe’s capacity to inspire China’s development.
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Chapter 7: The environment

Zsuzsa A. Ferenczy


Beijing has acknowledged Europe’s global leadership in setting and diffusing environmental standards globally. Faced with environmental degradation jeopardizing its economic development and therefore endangering the leadership’s domestic legitimacy, Beijing has shown interest in learning from European expertise. It has even modeled some of its policies after it. The two partners have made environmental cooperation a strategic priority. While this alignment of interests has enabled some cooperation, it has not brought an alignment of norms. The fundamental normative divergence at the core of EU-China relations has remained. It is clear, the two maintain their differences in their development path. While leading through its power of example, Europe’s inherent fragmentation has influenced its much-praised image. Overall, in spite of dealing with a series of crises, Europe has been effective in socializing China with international norms, a result of both Europe’s power of ideas and China’s power of interest.

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