Europe Needs China in Global Affairs: Perspectives and Outcomes

Though Many experts have viewed the bilateral dependence relationship between Beijing and Europe as the most vital. This case will probably be the paradigm of a  confrontational approach in the years ahead, even if the divisive nature of this relationship changes over time. Certain political experts are therefore hesitant to accept the rivalry that describes the existing tensions between China and the European Union.

After over a year of Russian conflict in Ukraine, European countries have become certain that they are hardest hit by the consequences of this war, which has clouded its various consequences for the entire world.

So far, Its economies have been significantly adversely affected by the sanctions imposed on Russia, where energy and food prices have risen; The imbalance between demand and supply levels in this regard and the rising rate of Ukrainian displacement to European countries. The war has resulted in many EU countries increasing their military spending budgets and hindering efforts to recover from the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Some statistics indicate that European countries have spent around 800 billion euro in support of citizens to surpass the cost of living and high inflation rates.

To meet the ongoing challenges presented by this war development, the European States find themselves in the gavel of American trends aimed at tightening economic, political, and military sanctions, maintaining pressure on Russia to force it to cease operations on the one hand, and reversing the negative effects of these measures; decision-makers; Face-to-face with citizens’ protests that have come to threaten social peace in several countries on the continent, as in France, on the other hand.

In this regard, the question arises as to whether European states can deal with the consequences of the war if it continues, especially since a number of them have witnessed a social uprising in protests, as a response to high inflation, a decline in people’s purchasing power and high unemployment. Economic forecasting shows that the prolongation of this war will cost the European economy extraordinary losses, whether they relate to the costs of sanctions on Russia, support for Ukraine, or to the reconstruction of the country’s war in the event of a cessation of military operations. In the face of these unprecedented pressures, several European leaders have begun to bet on China to play roles at two levels, the first being to establish strategic initiatives for the cease Ukraine- Russian conflict, and the second concerns partnerships that support the recovery of the European economy, which has been hard hit in recent years by the impact of the pandemic and the effects of the war.

Diplomatically speaking, The last official visit to Beijing by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reflects in large part the concerns expressed by many European parties about the extent of the China-Russia rapprochement and its possible repercussions on the future of the Euro-Chinese partnership and cooperation. Thus, as the “Liu YaWei” an adjunct professor of Political Science at Emory University pointed out: “  China today is different from the China of twelve to thirteen years ago. There is a growing awareness that China does pose a threat to the global order, which is so important to European countries. There is also awareness of the concern that the Chinese government and other agencies and overseas Chinese, many of whom live in European countries, are considered to be involved in penetrating European society”. In other words, the recent visits by the French president, the German foreign minister, and the European Commission president all indicate that Europe can’t decouple from China, as Ambassador Chan said. It would be a nightmare, not only for Europe but also for China. Both are working very hard to maintain relations in the context of growing U.S.-China hostility.

If European states realize their openness to China as an important input to improving the growing financial, economic, and social crises There are concerning questions following these trends, as to whether it is a recognition of European countries’ desire for a multipolar international order in which China plays an essential role. In defiance of the efforts of the United States to repress Beijing, or simply a maneuver to stop the bleeding of war, the implications of which cost the European countries many opportunities.

Yet, the European states’ strategic relations with the United States, and European disagreements with China on several issues such as human rights and security issues in the Asia Pacific, recent international developments, and the new threats, alliances, and balances they refer to, have forced the adoption of realistic behavior evoked among their rational and mutual interests.

China has strong business connections with several European states such as France and Germany, suggesting that the current European tendency is oriented towards seeking to eliminate American hegemony. In this context, the French President’s statement could finally be understood, when he mentioned his support for the “one united China” policy and called for the elaboration of a stand independent of the United States in dealing with the dispute between Beijing and Taiwan.

Despite all the insecurities, the European states have not given up hope for peace and their legacy in foreign diplomacy. Two main states of NATO France and Germany have projected to talk to Russia rather than contain it like the United States did. It appears to be a new opportunity for peace when Ukraine’s president Zelenskiy won a landslide victory promising to end the war. France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine agreed to hold a summit in Paris advancing a peaceful settlement to the issue in east Ukraine and all territory. To that end, Russia’s President Putin has indicated his firm commitment to the four-way talks in Paris, stating that he supports it without reservations.

In the end, China believed that a united, stable, and well-off Europe is good for itself and the globe because it is China’s reliable and open position and strategic judgment. Accordingly, China would carry sustaining Europe’s unity and development.

To sum up, In today’s global community, China and Europe have a much stronger and more securer relationship with their Russian-led allies and partners than the majority of their allies and partners. Therefore, Many International indications pointed out that the European trend towards China is not about a phased option regulated by Beijing, but rather a strategic and reformist option, as many facts and indicators illustrate accordingly.

Jamal Laadam
Jamal Laadam
Dr. Jamal Ait Laadam, Specialist in North African and Western Sahara Issue, at Jilin University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).