European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee adopts new strategy for China, supports EU-Taiwan investment agreement

The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee today voted 58 in favor, 8 against and 4 abstentions to adopt a draft report calling on the European Union to develop a new strategy to deal with China, arguing that the EU should continue discussions with China on global challenges such as climate change and the health crisis, but at the same time criticizing China for systematic human rights violations and calling on the EU to deepen relations with partners with similar ideas, promote strategic autonomy and defend European interests and values. The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee drafted a report on the 15th, criticizing China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, and supporting the EU’s Taiwan to start negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement.

According to a report by the Central News Agency today, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a new strategy for China and supported the European-Taiwanese investment agreement.

In terms of cooperation with China, the report calls for ongoing discussions between Europe and China on reform issues such as human rights, climate change, responses to global health crises and multilateral organizations, as well as strengthening responses to infectious diseases that could become epidemics or pandemics through risk and early warning systems, but asks China to allow independent investigations into the origin and spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).

In the section on defending European interests and values against China, the report makes clear that the ratification process of the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) will remain frozen until China lifts sanctions against MEPs and EU institutions.

In addition, the report reiterates the EU’s call for progress on the EU-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement.

According to the Central News Agency (CNA), the report also points out China’s systematic human rights violations and calls for a regular European-Chinese dialogue on human rights to address China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Hilde Vautmans, the Belgian MEP responsible for the report, said after the vote that the EU will continue to seek dialogue and cooperation with China, but the EU cannot downplay China’s assertive foreign policy and influence in the world, nor can it ignore China’s disdain for human rights and commitment to reform bilateral and multilateral agreements. She said it is time for the EU to unite behind a more comprehensive and assertive Chinese policy, defending European values and interests through strategic autonomy in the areas of trade, digital, security and defense.

The report says that after the Foreign Affairs Committee votes on the report today, it will next be submitted to the plenary of the European Parliament for discussion and vote.