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EU-China Relations: How to make China work for Europe

China’s bet to transform the world economy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), involves strategic risks for Europe. But these are far from insurmountable. If the Continent’s policymakers can overcome their knee-jerk reaction to China’s ambitions, they can easily contain the threats to Europe’s core interests.

Despite widespread fears of Chinese competition and the security risks involved in their takeover of major infrastructure projects, China’s move to the West also offers plenty of opportunities that — if handled properly — can help Europe advance its own strategic priorities. To exploit them, the EU needs to develop a common approach that draws China closer, on European terms.

The EU must continue to work toward becoming a credible economic counterweight to Beijing, preferably together with other liberal market economies. If done right, this could draw Beijing into a mutually dependent economic relationship, help to promote sustainable development and contain threats to European unity.

To sidestep the risks involved, the EU needs to set out clear red lines to ensure governments do not support BRI projects unless they live up to recognized criteria on transparency, equal say of stakeholders and environmental and labor standards.

Read more: How to make China work for Europe – POLITICO

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