Twenty-one years is the year when Xi Jinping’s geopolitical violations and domestic violence reached their peak. However, at the end of the year, the European Union gave free gifts to Beijing in the form of a unilateral, opaque and deceptive investment agreement. Europeans betrayed their American allies, let alone their own values.
This work went on for seven years, but was stranded due to the pandemic, and the deal was blocked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. Achieved quickly. They insisted that the deal also safeguarded “our interests” while at the same time “improving our core values”, as Von de Leyen said.
But the draft confirms what anyone familiar with China̵
Yes, the agreement will open up new services to European investors, hinder technology transfer, and increase transparency for state-owned companies and other forms of market manipulation. The European Union praised the modest concessions made by China’s state capitalist institutions as a major victory, but most of them are already in the making-if Europeans treat the United States as a third partner, they can obtain it without betraying human rights.
In fact, this transaction is bound to be disappointing. This makes European newcomers to China complain that this transaction is an uneven competitive environment in open investment industries such as consumer finance and private hospitals. Although Chinese giants are allowed to raise funds and sue domestically, European companies are still largely manipulated hostages. In this game, the Chinese government’s thumb is upright on the scale.
For what reason the EU is essentially preparing to use its daily human rights sermons as cheap talks in exchange for increased profits for automakers, consumer goods manufacturers and other mainly German multinational companies. At the same time, the agreement cannot offset the Communist regime’s massive enslavement of its Muslim minorities. At best, this will stifle the ongoing efforts of human rights advocates and Chinese hawks in the European Parliament to escape the Uyghur forced labor supply chain in continental Europe. In the worst case, it will plunge some new European companies into the same bloody value chain.
Official documents require China to abide by many of the regulations approved by the International Labor Organization, while not providing any enforcement mechanism to monitor local behavior. China is not only a founding signatory of the International Labor Organization, but also the modern slavery capital of the world. Therefore, the Europeans asking Beijing to approve the ILO’s additional terms can only prove to be meaningless.
This transaction comes just as the Chinese hawks Trump administration is about to withdraw. President-elect Biden and his small circle of foreign policy, while soft in history, Beijing said that they prefer a joint, transatlantic Chinese strategy. But Europeans can’t wait to see what the new Washington regime might mean.
The booster of this deal claims that the EU should not be held responsible for alliances with allies that are not unstable with regard to their Chinese policies. They also argued that being involved in Sino-US competition is not in the long-term interest of Europe. However, despite the Democrats’ typical solicitation of European goodwill, the duality of Europe is still obvious to the Biden team.
In the post-COVID world, China’s market manipulation and domestic abuse are unlikely to abate or even worsen. In this context, the European Union’s race to reach an agreement shows that Europe’s “strategic autonomy” over the United States is a bit ominous. This is the first buzzword put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron. Brussels is wandering around.
Yes, the agreement will not take effect for another year, but Biden must spend two weeks thinking about how to react, which is not an enviable position for leaders of the free world. Biden may take a page from his predecessor. President Trump’s skeptical instincts towards China and his distrust of Europeans seem to have been proven: Xi Jinping has always stood his ground, while Angela Merkel’s European Community is regarded as The package is sold out.
The democratic West only needs a spine. Hope Biden has it.
Jorge González-Gallarza (Zorge González-Gallarza) is an associate researcher at the Fundación Civismo.