Leveraging Diversity: Europe's China Policy
24 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 2017
The widespread assumption that ‘Europe must speak to China with one voice’ misses important advantages of the EU’s divided sovereignty structure. European states frequently secure economic benefits from China while deflecting Beijing’s demands for reciprocal policy concessions off to Brussels. EU negotiators utilize internal constraints through ‘two-level games’ that strengthen their bargaining position with Beijing. EU member states have exploited their dual identities to expand engagement with China, attract Chinese investment, and build financial cooperation. The reputed downsides of European division often represent either unrealistic expectations or relatively modest concerns for Europe. Going forward, European scholars and officials should adopt a more realistic sense of what the EU’s China policy might achieve, identify when and why Europeans have been most effective in engaging China, and develop strategies to further leverage Europe’s diversity.
Keywords: International Relations; Trade, Investment and International Cooperation; European Foreign Policy; Institutions and Policy-making
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