After almost seven years of complete calm on the eve of the New Year, the European Union and China signed a new investment agreement. Now European enterprises and firms will have easier access to the largest and fastest-growing market in the world. Strengthening cooperation with China was one of the goals of Germany’s presidency of the EU Council — which, however, caused the discontent of the new US leadership. A number of observers have also expressed their doubts.
Serious geostrategic mistake
The European Union will regret this agreement yet, the Financial Times predicts:
“When an authoritarian state such as China displaces the United States from the position of the dominant world power, the consequences of this will be felt by democracies around the world. Even within the current geopolitical order, China has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to use its economic power as a strategic weapon. By increasing their economic dependence on China — while not coordinating with other democracies, European countries become more vulnerable to pressure from China. In this sense, the European Commission, which has set itself the goal of acting ‘geopolitical’, has made a very short-sighted decision.”
Germany is not averse to capitalizing on
According to WPolityce.pl, the agreement traces the handwriting of the current government of Germany:
“The main reason why Berlin has been pushing the EU so much towards this agreement is clearly political. Back on July 1, when Germany began its six-month presidency of the EU Council, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany intends to become a “mediator” between Washington and Beijing. … In other words, the world must become bipolar. However, in such a world, decisions will be made on top of the heads of Europeans, who will have to take one side or the other on every important political issue. Thus, Germany becomes the decisive weight in the balance and the ‘real mediator’ between competing powers — with all the advantages that such role promises.”
Dialogue is more effective than a game of silence!
This agreement is actually much better than its reputation, says the Neue Zurcher Zeitung:
“The investment agreement is not a lever for regime change. … In addition, one should not harbor illusions: the Peking regime will always find ways to push its point of view — and put it above any private interests. … However, the cooperation instruments and dispute settlement mechanism provided for in the new agreement will make it easier in the future to prosecute breaches of obligations. Dialogue is more effective than a refusal. For the competition of systems to proceed as peacefully and productively as before, cooperation and coordination of certain rules of the game are necessary.”