2020 was a turbulent year for everything China related. In 2021, countries around the world will face the double challenge of dealing with the Covid-19 health crisis and bracing for the economic fallout it will cause. While promising vaccine breakthroughs look set to usher in the end of the pandemic, the economics and politics of vaccine distribution will test the international community. At the same time, a series of critical developments will affect EU-China relations: the CCP’s 100th birthday, the publication of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, a new US President and a new German Chancellor.
To shed some light on what observers think EU-China relations will look like in 2021, MERICS conducted a survey among 170 European China experts and roughly 1,000 members of the wider international public. A selection of the results was presented on January 13, 2021, at the MERICS China Forecast 2021 event and discussed by leading China specialists.
The MERICS China Forecast 2021 event
Following opening remarks by MERICS Executive Director, Mikko Huotari, the first panel on China’s domestic politics and economy featured George Magnus, Associate at the China Centre of the University of Oxford, Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, Arthur R. Kroeber, Founding Partner & Head of Research at Gavekal Dragonomics Beijing and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings, and Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Senior Associate at MERICS and Professor for Contemporary China at the University of Trier. It was moderated by Bernhard Bartsch, Senior Expert China and Asia Pacific at the Bertelsmann Foundation.
The second panel on Europe's China strategy for 2021 featured Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament for the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service, Lucrezia Poggetti, Analyst at MERICS, and Plamen Tonchev, Head of the Asia Unit at the Institute of International Economic Relations and MERICS European China Policy Fellow. The panel was moderated by Jakob Hanke Vela, Trade Reporter for POLITICO Europe. The event was live-streamed on Youtube, where you can also find a recording of the discussions.
In a pre-recorded podcast panel titled "Global Challenges 2021" the Honorable Kevin Rudd, Isabel Hilton and Jonathan Hillmann discussed the issues of decoupling, climate and connectivity. It is available as an episode of our MERICS experts podcast. The results of MERICS’ annual survey were presented at the event by MERICS analyst Lucrezia Poggetti (also available as a short analysis on our website). Below you will find a number of take aways from this year's forecasting exercise.