The Complex Relationship Between Europe and China

The relationship between Europe and China has been fraught with tension, with concerns ranging from espionage to defense trade with Russia. The European continent appears divided on how to navigate China’s growing power, especially in the face of the U.S.-China rivalry. European carmakers are struggling to compete with subsidized Chinese electric vehicles, while diplomats are on edge over the presence of alleged Chinese spies in their respective capitals.

Despite the tensions, the economic ties between Europe and China are significant. EU-China trade is estimated to be a staggering 2.3 billion euros per day, highlighting the importance of these economic relations. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe signals a desire to strengthen and expand these ties after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Xi’s itinerary includes stops in France, Serbia, and Hungary, all of which have unique relationships with China. France, in particular, has been vocal about the need for Europe to assert more economic and strategic independence from global powers. Meanwhile, Serbia and Hungary have been receptive to Chinese investment, raising concerns about their proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Xi’s visit will be closely monitored in Washington for any shifts in European attitudes towards key foreign policy objectives. With growing uncertainty about U.S. support for trans-Atlantic allies, European reactions to China’s overtures take on added significance. From protests demanding human rights accountability to calls for fairer trade policies, the stakes are high for all parties involved.

As the EU investigates Chinese subsidies and considers imposing tariffs on Chinese exports, the economic landscape between Europe and China remains uncertain. China’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine, its defense ties with Russia, and its overall geopolitical positioning all contribute to the complex relationship between the two regions. The outcome of Xi’s visit and the responses from European leaders will shape the future of this intricate dynamic.


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