Flags China Europe

PAST EVENTS: MERICS Conference: Charting a new course for European China Policy

Sep. 16, 2020 09:15 - 17:00

MERICS Conference: Charting a new course for European China Policy: Resilient, Competitive and Geopolitical

2020 was meant to be the year in which decisive progress was made in EU-China relations. But much remains to be done, as the EU-China summit held on Monday 14 September has revealed: The virtual meeting did not yield much progress regarding crucial issues of trade and investment relations, like improved market access for European companies in China. In addition, the Coronavirus pandemic, China’s intervention in Hong Kong and concerns over the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang have increased tensions. These events have served as wake-up calls for European decision makers and wider publics of their deep interdependence with China and of the resulting vulnerabilities.

The hybrid MERICS conference "Charting a new course for European China Policy: Resilient, Competitive and Geopolitical" took stock of the latest results of the virtual EU-China video conference. Moreover, the event served to launch a new 'MERICS Paper on China' "Towards a "principles first approach" in Europe's China Policy: Drawing lessons from the Covid-19 crisis". The MERICS conference took place on September 16, 2020 with roughly 300 online participants and a much smaller number of guests at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

In line with the hybrid style of this conference we incorporated participants’ views through interactive polling and three parallel workshop sessions. Furthermore, senior decision-makers from Europe and the US discussed key issues in EU-China relations and placed them in the context of the US-China-Europe triangle. The conference also presented views from European capitals in search for an alignment on China policy. 

Part 1

Welcome and introductory remarks by Mikko Huotari, Executive Director at MERICS, and Session 1 “The ship bridge – EU-China virtual summit and its implications”.

  • Implications for the China work of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU Ambassador Michael Clauss, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union 
  • Chair: Mikko Huotari, Executive Director, MERICS

Part 2

Session 4: “Views from across the seas”

  • Beijing: Joerg Wuttke, President, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China
  • Washington: Ryan Hass, The Brookings Institution
  • Chair: Silke Wettach, WirtschaftsWoche, Brussels

Session 5: Eurovision? Views from capitals

  • Rome: Lia Quartapelle, Member of Parliament, Democratic Party
  • Stockholm: Ulf Kristersson, Member of Parliament, Moderate Party
  • Warsaw: Radosław Sikorski, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
  • London: Tom Tugendhat, Member of Parliament, Conservative Party
  • Chair: Lucrezia Poggetti, MERICS

You can find our latest MERICS Paper on China "Towards a ‘principles first approach’ in Europe's China policy – Drawing lessons from the Covid-19 crisis” here.