Divide and Rule中国对欧盟“分而治之”

Divide and Rule中国对欧盟“分而治之”

09.06.2018 15:07

Divide and Rule
China attracts Eastern European countries with the promise of financing much needed infrastructure investments. The EU needs to find a common response.
Author: Jan Gaspers(Head of Research of the European China Policy Unit at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin)
作者:Jan Gaspers(柏林墨卡托中国研究中心,欧中政策研究部负责人)
翻译:Chaoting Cheng

China’s intense political engagement with the CEEC poses a growing challenge to the EU, and requires not only a cohesive strategy from Brussels, but also the biggest EU member states to revisit their China policies. Otherwise, they risk further tilting the EU-China balance of power in Beijing’s favor.

Aside from the lures of potentially growing Chinese investments, 16+1 has been highly attractive for Central and Eastern European leaders, as it promises to upgrade their countries’ political standings with Beijing—and by extension the rest of the EU and even the United States.

In February 2017, the European Commission opened a formal investigation into the flagship BRI construction project in Europe, a €2.45 billion high-speed rail link between Belgrade and Budapest. Brussels has expressed doubts about the financial viability of the project and its compliance with EU public procurement rules. Overall, Chinese loans for large-scale infrastructure remain rather unattractive in light of existing EU financing, such as the EU’s structural cohesion funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), and the Trans European Transport Networks (TEN-T), which tend to come as partial grants.

However, even if China’s infrastructure financing and investments in Central and Eastern Europe were to significantly expand in the years ahead, this would only create another set of fundamental challenges for CEEC economies, since a key rationale underpinning China’s economic engagement is opening up local and Western European markets to Chinese products and services. Already, the CEEC trade relationship with China is characterized by massive trade imbalances. The countries having attracted the most Chinese investment to date also have some of the biggest trade deficits.

Driving Breaks
Despite the sobering economic realities, political elites in some CEEC states cling to cooperation with Beijing. They actively position closer ties with China as a counter-narrative to European cooperation and the liberal values underpinning the European project. In a clear reference to the EU, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán remarked at the Budapest 16+1 Summit: “We see the Chinese president’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative as a new form of globalization that does not divide the world into teachers and students but is based on common respect and common advantages.” And in May 2017, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić declared: “There are no problems in our economic and political relations, we are always on the same side, and when China has something to say, we are always on the side of China.”
尽管经济现实让人清醒,但中东欧国家的政治精英却迷恋于与北京合作。他们积极与北京建立更紧密的联系,作为对欧洲合作及基于自由价值观的欧洲项目的平衡。匈牙利总理奥尔班就在布达佩斯举行的“16+1”峰会上对欧盟明白地说,“我们将中国国家主席的‘一带一路’倡议视为一种新形式的全球化,不再把世界分成教师爷和学生,而是基于互相尊重和共同优势。” 塞尔维亚总统Vučić也在2017年5月宣称,“我们(与中国)的经济和政治关系没有问题,我们总是站在同一边,并且当中国要表达意见的时候,我们总是站在中国一边。”

As China seeks to expand its political footprint, the political damage to the European Union is already visible. For some time now, the EU has been unable to act cohesively towards China on what have been trademarks of EU foreign policy, namely upholding the international rule of law and protecting human rights. In March 2017, Hungary derailed the EU’s consensus, refusing to sign a joint letter denouncing the reported torture of detained lawyers. In June 2017, Greece—a 16+1 observer and major beneficiary of Chinese investment in recent years—blocked an EU statement at the UN Human Rights Council criticizing China’s human rights record. This marked the first time the EU had failed to make a joint statement at the UN’s top human rights body. Similar instances of CEEC blocking EU statements on China have occurred since.

Current discussions in Brussels about creating a European investment screening mechanism, which is geared initially at Chinese strategic investments in European high-tech industries, will become a litmus test for the EU’s ability to act decisively on China. Chinese investments have already prompted individual 16+1 EU members to challenge the current proposal. Opposition is also building up among EU accession countries with sizable Chinese investments. Even if the EU manages to adopt the mechanism by summer 2018—as is currently envisaged by the biggest member states—this will not help overcome what is already a central theme in European China policy-making: a growing lack of trust between the Eastern and the Western member states.
布鲁塞尔目前正在讨论建立一个欧洲投资审查机制,最初是适用于中国对欧洲高技术产业的战略投资。这个机制将是检验欧盟是否具备对中国采取决定性行动能力的试金石。中国的投资已经导致个别欧盟成员挑战目前的欧盟计划。在申请加入欧盟而且有着相当多中国投资的国家,也出现了反对意见。即使欧盟能够在2018年夏季之前采用这套机制 – 正如欧盟几个大国所设想的,也不会有助于消除欧盟中国政策制定的一个中心问题:东欧成员国和西欧成员国之间日益缺乏信任。

High Time for a Response
In light of these developments, Brussels has set up a working group to develop a European narrative and strategy for engaging with China’s BRI and its economic offensive in the EU and its neighborhood. An internal EU strategy paper is due to be released this year. Key recommendations are already clear: the European Commission should actively close infrastructure financing gaps that China would otherwise seek to fill, earmarking European resources from the structural cohesion funds. EU member states also need to make sure that the post-Brexit 2020 EU budget will not result in a significant reduction of funding for the CEEC and thus a greater opening for China.

At the same time, the EU will need to implement more modest measures to align BRI investments in its neighborhood with European interests. These include enabling third countries to properly evaluate, monitor, and prepare large-scale infrastructure projects, including those financed by China. To protect and promote EU norms and standards in the neighborhood, the development policy apparatus of European institutions and EU member states need to support related capacity-building.

The EU also needs to leverage institutional frameworks that can help to promote greater convergence of EU investment priorities and principles and Chinese investment activities. This includes channeling as much Chinese infrastructure investment as possible through multilateral frameworks like the EU-China Connectivity Platform and the largely Western-styled Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as through co-financing models involving Chinese institutions and the EIB and EBRD.

As China plays to deep political divisions within Europe, it will not be sufficient for bigger EU member states to appeal to Central and Eastern Europeans’ “European sentiment” when dealing with China. Besides strengthening EU solidarity across the board and fighting the rise of populist governments across Europe, France, Germany, and Italy should expand their policy coordination on economic engagement with China to also include Poland. Among the 16+1, Warsaw has chosen to pursue a soberer approach towards Beijing, and therefore might seem susceptible to greater EU engagement on China.

Calling on China to pursue a “One Europe” policy, as German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel did in August 2017, and encouraging CEEC to close the ranks also implies that bigger EU member states need to consider their own hypocrisy. As long as Berlin and Paris pursue their own interests in their relationships with China, they will struggle to convince the CEEC not to use the 16+1 for similar ends. Germany and France should deploy their privileged relationships with China to serve wider European interests. Both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have recently pointed out how important it was for European companies to get better access to the Chinese market. They also warned about the risks of state-driven Chinese takeovers of European hi-tech companies.
呼吁中国奉行“一个欧洲”政策,正如德国前外长Sigmar Gabriel在2017年8月所称,以及鼓励中东欧国家抛开(与中国的)等级差异,也暗示了欧盟大国的伪善一面。只要柏林和巴黎在处理与中国关系中追求自身利益,那么说服中东欧国家不要参与“16+1”就是一件费力的差事。德国和法国应当运用他们与中国有更重要关系这一点,来服务于更广泛的欧洲利益。默克尔和马克龙最近都指出,对欧洲的企业来说,获得对中国市场的更好准入是多么地重要。对于中国国家驱动的、对欧洲高技术企业进行并购的风险,他们也提出了警告。

CEEC governments, however, do not consider these issues priorities. They hope that Chinese investment will give their economies a push, and that closer relations with Beijing will increase their political influence. It is up to Germany and France to initiate a debate within the EU to find a compromise for Europe’s policy vis-à-vis China that takes everybody’s interests into account.


  • Erstellt von Chaoting Cheng In der Kategorie Politik政治 am 09.06.2018 15:07:00 Uhr

    zuletzt bearbeitet最后编辑: 01.11.2018 10:06
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