18 Apr, 2023

China: EU must defend human rights and democratic values

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament reiterated its call for the EU to set the foundations for a firm new strategy for China, based on dialogue when it comes to global challenges like climate change, while raising concerns over systemic human rights violations.

During a European Parliament plenary debate on the need for a coherent strategy for EU-China Relations this week, Renew Europe made it clear that EU diplomatic, scientific, economic and cultural ties with Beijing are essential, but a new approach is needed if Europe wants to defend its core values and be treated as an equal partner.

Hilde Vautmans MEP (Open VLD, BE), Standing Rapporteur on China and Renew Europe Group coordinator in the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, said:

“This Parliament approved my report on EU-China strategy and was very clear: the EU should be less naive. China is a partner, but also a systemic rival and a competitor. We will not accept Chinese military support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, we will not accept force in the Taiwan Strait, we cannot ignore human rights violations within China.

Now we must act united and not let ourselves be played by China’s divide and rule tactics, as our dependencies on China, for example on critical raw materials, affect our citizens directly.”

China is a key trading partner for the EU that is becoming increasingly assertive. Open strategic autonomy is therefore essential to reduce European dependencies. Since the beginning of the current mandate period, Renew Europe has acted to strengthen the EU’s trade toolbox to tackle unfair trade practices, including those of China. Europe’s trade relationship with China must be based on rules and reciprocity.

Marie-Pierre Vedrenne MEP (L’Europe Ensemble, FR), Shadow Rapporteur on China in the European Parliament Committee on International Trade added:

"The strengthening of our trade dependence on China has given it the weapons to challenge our model. Today, Europe is putting an end to its naivety. Thus, we are equipping ourselves with instruments to defend our ambitions and interests. At the same time, we must seek to strengthen our partnerships with those who share our principles, our values and our ambitions. From now on, it is imperative that we become and act as a strong and autonomous Europe."

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