Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.21

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.140

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Glimpse at EU–China relationships since 2008

Jelena Staburova / Una Aleksandra Bērziņa
Published Online: 2013-06-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2013-0004


United Europe-China relations have a long history. For many years they have developed successfully, but not along a simple course. The main thesis of this article is that the year 2008, which is associated primarily with the onset of the financial crisis in Europe, became a watershed in the history of bilateral relations between EU and China. Over the past few years the agenda and the role of the actors, and also the content and format of discourse have changed dramatically. This article is devoted primarily to some aspects of the EU’s position in relation to China and, to a lesser extent, to the position of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Therefore the history of contacts between the two sides will be considered especially in the light of some EU publications, while China will be outside our primary area of focus. Unlike many studies on economic cooperation between EU and China, our paper will accentuate the political component of the relationship. We shall try to demonstrate that, beginning with 2008, Europe has been partly losing its status as the driving force in the EU-China dialogue. We will conclude by addressing the problem of adequate understanding of Chinese political texts, without which no political communication of Europe with China can be successful. A critical analysis of a recent document prepared by the EU eliminates some problematical points within the united Europe, which affect the effectiveness of its Chinese policy. Our method can be described as eclectic in the sense that it borrows arguments from a variety of political research techniques and terminologies (discourse analysis, historical institutionalism, engagement and stakeholder theories), as well as from sinological (by which we understand the analysis of Chinese texts in the cultural perspective) and historical approaches.

Keywords : 11th EU-China Summit; 2008 as a watershed year for Sino-EU relationship; China theoretical framing; Chinese political discourse; European Union (EU); dynamics of EU-China relationship; People’s Republic of China (PRC)

  • Duchâtel, M. (2008), ‘Gaining soft power: China’s post-Olympic foreign policy priority’, in China Analysis 20: Playing with Europe’s Soft Agenda, London: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) Asia Centre, pp. 5-6.Google Scholar

  • European Commission (1998), Building a Comprehensive Partnership with China, Communication from the Commission, COM/98/0181 final, Brussels: Commission of the European Communities, pp. 1-26. Retrieved from http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:51998DC0181:EN:NOT [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • - (2006), Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities, Communication fromthe Commission to the Council and the European Parliament China-EU-China, COM (2006) 632 final, Brussels: Commission of the European Communities, pp. 1-12. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/COMByRange.do?year=2006&min=626&max=650 [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • FM PRC (2003), China’s EU Policy Paper, 13 October 2003, Beijing: Ministry of Foreign Affairs the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved from http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/topics/ceupp/t27708.htm [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • - (2012), China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation withCentral and Eastern European Countries, 26 April 2012, Beijing: Ministry of Foreign Affairs the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved from http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/topics/wjbispg/t928567.htm [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • Fox, J. & Godement, F. (2009), A Power Audit of EU-China Relations, London: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).Google Scholar

  • Godement, F. (2010), ‘A Global China Policy‘, in Policy Brief 22 (16 June 2010), London: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), pp. 1-12. Retrieved from http://ecfr.eu/content/entry/a_global_china_policy [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • Haass, R. N. & O’Sullivan, M. L. (2000), ‘Terms of Engagement: Alternatives to Punitive Policies’, in R. N. Haass & M. O’Sullivan (eds.) Honey and Vinegar:Incentives, Sanctions, and Foreign Policy, Washington: Brookings Institution Press, pp. 1-23.Google Scholar

  • Laursen, F. (2011), ‘The EU’s Strategic Partnerships: The Case of EU-China Relations,’ Dalhousie EUCE Occasional Paper, no. 10, Nova Scotia, Canada: Dalhousie University Halifax. Retrieved from http://www.google.lv/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Feuce.dal.ca%2FFiles%2FEUCE_Occasional_Paper_No_10_2011.pdf&ei=Zi1WULKODeXe4QT2q4GABQ&usg=AFQjCNG-5GFjmd9k3xTqV4LN3gcioYiVrg&sig2=OSL8lY-oYYfx-ncUCNV7hQGoogle Scholar

  • Pan, Z. (2012), ‘After the China-EU summit: reaffirming a comprehensive strategic partnership’, ESPO (European Strategic Partnership Observatory), Madrid: FRIDE, Apr 2012, p.1-6. Retrieved from http://www.fride.org/publication/1014/after-the-china-eu-summit:-reaffirming-the-partnership [accessed Aug 2012]Google Scholar

  • PFUE (2008), ‘EU-China Summit postponed - European Union Statement’. Retrieved from http://www.ue2008.fr/PFUE/lang/en/accueil/PFUE-11_2008/PFUE-26.11.2008/Declaration_UE_Report_Sommet.html [accessed Aug 2012].Google Scholar

  • Shambaugh, D., Sandschneider E. & Zhou Hong (2007), ‘From honeymoon to marriage: prospects for the China-Europe relationships’, in D. Shambaugh, E. Sandschneider & Zhou Hong (eds.) China-Europe Relations: Perceptions,Policies and Prospects, Oxon, NY& Canada: Routledge, pp. 303-338.Google Scholar

  • Staines, J. (2012), ‘Mapping Existing Studies on EU-China Cultural Relations. EENCShort Report’. Retrieved from http://www.eenc.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/JStaines-Mapping-Mapping-Existing-Studies-on-EU-China-Cultural-Relations.pdfGoogle Scholar

  • Vogt, R. (2012), ‘Europe and China: a Maturing Relationship?’ in R. Vogt (ed.) Europeand China: Strategic Partners Or Rivals? (Global Connections), Hongkong: Hongkong University Press, pp. 1-16.Google Scholar

  • Zhuang Zi (莊子)(1940),Jianzhu Zhuang Zi Nanhua Jing (箋註莊子南華經)ed. by Hu Shengya (胡繩崖), Shanghai: Shanghai Saoyeshan Fang (上海埽葉山房).Google Scholar

  • Zoellick, R. B. (2007), From the Shanghai Communiqué to “Responsible Stakeholder”, Remarks at “The China Balance Sheet in 2007 and Beyond”, Washington: Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Retrieved from http://www.iie.com/publications/papers/print.cfm?researchid=733&doc=pub [accessed Aug 2012].Google Scholar

About the article

Jelena Staburova

Jelena Staburova is Professor of Political Science at the Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia. She graduated from the University of St. Petersburg, Russia as a specialist in the history of China. Her first and second doctoral degrees were received from the Institute of Asian Studies in Moscow and the University of Latvia. Her published research works are mainly related to the history, philosophy, and politics of China. She is the founder and director of the Confucius Centre at the Rīga Stradiņš University.

Una Aleksandra Bērziņa

Una Aleksandra Bērziņa is PhD candidate in Political Science at the Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia. Her interdisciplinary research comprises aspects of Chinese language and political science theories; it broadens the scope of western discourse analysis theories by adjusting them to Chinese empiric material. Bērziņa focuses on contemporary Chinese political discourse and the influence of traditional Chinese notions on the political language of the modern PRC.

Published Online: 2013-06-18

Published in Print: 2013-06-01

Citation Information: Baltic Journal of European Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 44–57, ISSN (Print) 2228-0596, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2013-0004.

Export Citation

This content is open access.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in