Commentary: EU-China cooperation helps consolidate multilateralism
By Michel Aglietta
The EU is now haunted by troubles. Still not politically united and powerful enough against the outside world, it is also headache with political disagreements inside. Such trend is highlighted after the outbreak of global financial crisis and European debt crisis.
At the same time, the US is destroying the international order it established after the second World War, leading to a severe damage to the political trust between countries.
Either the divergence between European countries or the chaos around the world has provided a chance for countries seeking hegemony. But obviously, China belongs to none of them.
China seeks wide cooperation and common development, which needs a unified EU that shares a common vision for the future as well as a stable and peaceful international environment. To achieve this goal, the EU and China have been active in establishing and deepening multilateral dialogues and cooperation.
China’s dynamic economy has effectively curbed recession in global economy and supported the EU’s economic growth.
Now, the world’s second largest economy has embarked on a new journey of reform and opening up, on which the activated new energy and booming domestic consumer market exert a broad and positive impact on global economy.
A more open China and the stronger policies it has rolled out to support opening up has attracted a large number of EU enterprises to expand business sphere here.
China is devoting great energy to industry restructuring and has rising demand in environment treatment, technological investment, urbanization and other areas where the EU boasts rich experience, abundant talents and mature industries.
With a high degree of complementarity in economy and many common interests, the EU and China have forged wide exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Multilateralism will win more support from people in the EU and China as the economic links between the two get closer.
Besides economic and trade cooperation, EU-China collaboration in other fields is also of great significance.
Both sides have proposed great ideas with ambitions and long-term goals and won mutual support. Their commitment to the Paris Agreement demonstrates their support for multilateralism to tackle common challenges.
A close bond has been established in China between the government and society in the field of environmental protection and green economy, which serves as firm and effective support for the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement, as a consensus of cooperation between the EU and China, also sets a good example for future cooperation that is more ambitious and forward-looking.
Under the context of further deepening reform and opening up, China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has accelerated the cross-border capital flows. Completely different from the short-sighted financial control that has been adopted by the Wall Street over the past four decades, this Chinese mode aims to seek mutual dependence in various forms such as connectivity, bilateral trade and long-term investment.
The Belt and Road construction plays a role in solving unbalanced development, degradation of natural resources and other issues of global governance. The investment under the Belt and Road Initiative is shared and reciprocal, and the capitals from the EU will also be given a significant role under the framework.
The Initiative encourages capital flows to green and environmental-friendly development, addressing the EU’s concerns over the Paris Agreement. As the Belt and Road construction progresses, the financial cooperation between the EU and China under the framework of the Initiative will become an important drive for a closer economic and political relationship between the two sides.
With more cooperative projects achieving practical results, it is believed that the EU and China will get closer and closer and meet each other half way.
(The author is a renowned French economist and founder of the regulation school.)