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International Partnerships


China stands as the world's second-largest economy and its second most populous nation, home to 1.4 billion people. According to projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China's economic growth was expected to reach 5.4% in 2023 before decelerating to 4.6% in 2024.

Given its immense scale, China occupies a pivotal position in addressing numerous global challenges. It contributes over a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, underscoring its significant environmental impact. Moreover, China has transitioned from being a recipient to a key provider of development assistance, marking its growing influence as a lender and donor on the international stage.

Our priorities

The June 2023 European Council Conclusions highlight the mutual interest of the EU and China in fostering constructive and stable relations, grounded in a commitment to the rules-based international order, balanced engagement, and reciprocity.

The EU's nuanced strategy towards China, as detailed in the 2019 Strategic Outlook Joint Communication, continues to be pertinent. The EU engages with China in a multifaceted manner, viewing it concurrently as a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor, and a systemic rival. Given the increasing complexity of EU-China relations amid evolving geopolitical landscapes, the EU is prioritising the reduction of vulnerabilities and the enhancement of resilience. This involves a strategic focus on de-risking its interactions with China, a course of action underscored by the President of the European Commission in March 2023.

Within this strategic framework, the EU actively seeks to engage China in promoting EU interests and values while jointly addressing global challenges. This collaboration emphasizes adherence to shared international commitments and responsibilities, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, its Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

10 FEBRUARY 2024
Regional Multiannual Indicative Programme for Asia and the Pacific 2021-2027
13 NOVEMBER 2023
Annual action plan 2023 for China (under the Multiannual Indicative Programme for the Asia-Pacific region)


Our flagship initiatives

The EU's strategic interaction with China is strengthened through thematic and regional programmes that support a range of high-level bilateral dialogues. These include the EU-China Strategic Dialogue, the EU-China High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, the EU-China High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue, the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, and the EU-China High-Level Digital Dialogue.

In areas crucial to the EU's strategic interests and values — such as trade and economic relations, consumer protection, migration and mobility, labour and social rights, clean energy transition, environment management and governance, democracy and human rights, rules-based multilateralism — the EU maintains active engagement with China.

As the world's foremost provider of development aid and a principal source of international climate finance, the EU collaborates with its Member States to lead global efforts in these domains. China, noted for being the largest emitter of carbon dioxide and the most significant bilateral creditor, shares common international obligations with the EU. Leveraging these shared commitments, the EU works with China to address global challenges, including climate change and biodiversity conservation, global health and pandemic preparedness, development financing, and debt sustainability.

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