Asia Europe Journal

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Online ISSN: 1612-1031
Print ISSN: 1610-2932
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The positions of CIIS and SIIS within the “center-periphery” structure of China’s foreign policy making. Source: This figure is made by the author of this article
Pushed by structural transformations of geopolitics and world economy, China had to adjust its policy toward the European Union (EU) continuously during the period of 2014–2019, in pace with the dramatic changes in the European political landscape and the European Union’s policy orientations. During this process, the role of Chinese foreign policy think tanks has become more prominent and complex. This article conducts a comparative case study of the central-level China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and the provincial-level Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), analyzing mechanisms of their influence over China’s EU policy. Based on a theoretical paradigm that interprets think tanks as the “central space” in a “field of power,” this article establishes an analytical framework regarding the policy influence of CIIS and SIIS as being determined by their differentiated positions within China’s foreign policy-making structure. It compares the flows of CIIS and SIIS publications on EU policy issues and the issuing of EU policy documents by the Chinese government, with a particular focus on the economic dimension of the relationship. It reveals patterns of synchronization and succession between think tank advice and official policy endorsements. Also, it analyzes the structural characteristics of meetings on EU policy sponsored by CIIS and SIIS, disclosing their varied connections with central and provincial policymakers, as well as other political actors. Generally speaking, the CIIS is in a more advantageous position than the SIIS. The findings also confirm the trend of a new round of centralization in China’s policy process.
In recent times, the European Commission has shown to have increasing difficulty keeping up its central position in trade diplomacy towards China, in the face of a growing wariness and assertiveness of the member states. In this article, we observe a changing balance, a development from EU diplomacy towards European diplomacy, meaning a growing influence of EU member states in the process. We call this the “Europeanisation” of EU economic diplomacy. This is not limited to China and reflects a broader development, as is visible in the politicisation of the negotiation processes towards the (failed) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the (provisionally applied) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, and also in the trend towards mixed agreements that require member state ratification. However, it was particularly in the relations with China that such trends became visible for the first time and have continued to manifest themselves throughout the years. Apart from the member states assembled in the Council, also the European Parliament has strengthened its position in the process at the expense of the Commission.
Voting distance of major European states to both the USA and China
Major European states’ trade with China
Major state’s voting difference with the USA in the UNGA
China’s rise, along with deepening Sino-European economic relations, seems to have a strong impact on the diplomatic outlook of actors in Europe. An interesting phenomenon is that, while several major European states have become strategic partners of China, they remain US allies at the same time. In the context of trade tensions and a possible decoupling between China and the USA, what are the diplomatic effects of the close economic relations between Europe and China? To find the answer, this study builds models on the functions of trade and partnerships with China with respect to voting choice of China’s partners, including those in Europe, in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). After making a statistical analysis and presenting detailed analysis on France, Germany, the UK, and Poland, this paper finds that the close economic and trade ties do indeed enhance voting similarity between China and major states in Europe in the UNGA.
In the period between 2015 and 2020, we have witnessed an increase in ‘system friction’ in the trade and investment relations between the EU and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This paper focuses on the meaning of this notion of ‘system friction’, originally coined by Sylvia Ostry and on how the EU and especially the European Commission reacted to this friction. This notion might present an alternative to the notion of ‘system rivalry’. The result of system friction in the relation between the EU and the PRC had been a convergence towards more trade defensive moves. A form of managed trade with help of a ratified Investment treaty between the two sides might be a potential outcome.
The Visegrad Group format — coordinated policy forum for Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary — has been dubbed as a significant policy tool that advocates the interests and builds synergies among the four partners. The “Visegrad Four + ” format, which coordinates foreign relations of these four countries, has been narrated as the key foreign policy venue of the V4, and the V4 + Japan is often understood as the key partnership within this format. Due to the recently growing Chinese influence in Central and Eastern Europe, and the impacts of the war in Ukraine in 2022, many have come to expect the coordination to strengthen and ramify. This article argues, however, that the V4 + Japan platform represents only a marginal policy forum and is unlikely to gain any significant political momentum in the foreseeable future. Basing the analysis on a set of interviews with the V4 and Japanese policymakers, the paper posits three reasons that have prevented the deepening of the V4 + Japan coordination: (i) there are significant limits to socialization in the group, (ii) there are diverse threat perceptions among V4 members, and (iii) there is little interest in deepening economic coordination vis-a-vis third parties. These findings question the viability of foreign policy coordination among the Visegrad Group members, and highlight the impediments for the expansion of V4 + Japan cooperation.
As two major powers that are willing to lead the design and evolution of the global climate regime, the EU and China have maintained a dialogue on climate change and biodiversity while clashing over other economic and political issues. This paper investigates EU-China relations in the global climate regime by briefly analysing three main areas that are key for the global green transition: standardization, green taxonomy, and the renewables sector. The paper claims that EU-China relations in the global climate regime develop within the dialectical collaboration-competition nexus, showing moments of consensus as well as contention between the two major powers in the three selected cases.
In the twenty-first century, changing global power equations are impacting the dynamics of foreign and security policy choices of small states, as they seek to develop alliances and partnerships to offset their geopolitical and geo-economic vulnerabilities. In this context, Armenia’s security orientation is largely seen as consistently intertwined with Russia even after independence. Armenia has also attempted to develop a “normative alliance” with the European Union, relying mostly on its special relations with France. In recent years, various factors including domestic politics, deficit of security, and Russian dominance have led to a gradual re-orientation in the Armenian alliance trajectory towards more multilateral partnerships indicating a tendency towards “hedging” alliances. Conceptualizing from a theoretical foundation relating to small-state alliance options, this paper presents a case for Armenia-India strategic partnerships, given the historical and cultural ties between the two nations and the rapid growth of India as an emergent giant in the multipolar world. In this context of strategic analysis, the Georgia-Armenia-Iran corridor has a potential of vital geo-economic and geopolitical axis for India as well as for Russia, the EU, and China. The position of Armenia with its “both… and” integration approach, approximation with the EU, and strategic partnership with Russia has proved to be insufficient in security issues; however, the friendly disposition of a rising power, such as India, leaves Armenia with the capacity to diversify its security as a local civilizational and geo-economic connector.
To address environmental problems, efforts to green financial systems are proliferating across the globe. However, green finance policy approaches differ substantially and in ways left unexplained in current literature. Focusing on the EU and China as the most active and influential in green finance, the paper provides a comparative analysis and conceptualization of their approaches. The analysis is based on the dissection of policy documents, a review of stakeholder statements and articles, and insights from semi-structured interviews and participant observation. The paper finds that in terms of similar characteristics, both parties seek inclusive expertise input, establish thematic committees, and initiate green finance efforts through financial system-wide guidelines. In terms of different characteristics, the paper finds that through a consultation-based, transparent, and limited mandate approach, the EU is characterized by longer time horizons and organic growth. This can be contrasted with the Chinese technocratic, closed-door, and non-limited mandate approach, characterized by rapid rollout and command-and-control growth. These findings can be conceptualized as a bottom-up market-facilitating approach in the EU and a top-down market-steering approach in China. The different approaches help explain current difficulties in coordination between the EU and China and imply that cooperation is only possible through compatibility rather than harmonization. The findings show that different governance models can actively use the state to pursue sustainable development, and second that such an active state can function in very different ways towards the same goals.
After the introduction of the 16 + 1 cooperation platform in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in 2012, bilateral relations between China and Czechia warmed up in the period 2015–2017, most notably when they became strategic partners in 2016. However, relations declined thereafter due to factors such as China’s underwhelming investment programme, the Czech focus on security and human rights, and some Czech politicians’ engagement with Taiwan. This article analyses the shortcomings inherent in Chinese and Czech interpretations of their partner’s approaches to the relationship. The analysis demonstrates that several factors have undermined China’s efforts to build solid bilateral relations. Above all, China’s misunderstanding of the ways in which the Czech political system and culture influence the formulation of Czech policy towards China, combined with underwhelming economic results, have undermined China’s diplomatic efforts. At the same time, the fragmentation of Czech political power structures means that it is difficult for Czechia to form a stable consensus on China policy. In addition, lack of understanding of China’s history and the contemporary context of its foreign policy means that Czech views on China have become politicised and polarised. These problems have seriously affected the mutual trust and development of relations between the two countries, in the same way as they have impacted relations between China and other CEE countries, most notably Lithuania.
EU public opinion on comparison of economic performance between the EU and China
Framing of EU actions in the news reports in Chinese press in 2006, 2011, and 2015
Sub-framing of economic action of the EU in Chinese newspapers
Words chosen by Chinese general public to describe the EU in 2012 and 2015
Economic relationship has been the cornerstone of the China-EU relation as well as the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership which was established in 2003. On the other side of the coin, economic relations have been main sources of disputes between China and the EU since the 2005–2006 textile disputes. This paper examines their mutual perceptions in this field as one way of explaining the development of the bilateral relationship, supported by substantial empirical data. It is found that the successful economic development of China has generated different perceptions between the EU and China. With the difference in the development level reducing, the EU side was concerned more about the rise of China, while the Chinese side emphasised more the relative decline of the EU’s economic might.
This article analyses trade flows EU-ASEAN, focusing on export performance and technological intensity, covering the years 2004–2016. The aim of this paper is to analyse to what extent, a further trade integration between the EU and ASEAN, could generate business opportunities for countries in both trading blocs. This analysis could serve as a basis for designing and implementing effective policies and strategies by policymakers in the face of a deepening EU-ASEAN trade integration. Therefore, a detailed analysis of the degree of complementarity of trade patterns, the weight of intra-industry trade, and the revealed comparative advantages allows us to outline some of those challenges and opportunities. Results suggest that intra-industry trade is moderate, mainly focused on few manufactures, accounting for a low value of total trade flows between the two blocs, and concentrated in a few countries. The Lafay index analysis suggests that the EU and ASEAN are natural partners regarding the technological patterns of the revealed comparative advantages; therefore, a deepening in trade integration between this trading blocs could allow to exploit those comparative advantages.
Average abnormal returns of Airbus stock according to the meeting types
Average abnormal returns of Airbus stock according to the level 1 summit talk types
Economic diplomacy receives growing interest in the field of international relations research ever since the end of the cold war. Despite the vast number of literature on economic diplomacy, there are not many studies measuring the effect of economic diplomacy quantitatively. The purpose of this paper is to propose a method to measure economic diplomacy using the event study method that observes the influence of specific events on stock prices. In this study, the summit talks between the EU and China are selected as specific events that are considered as a form of economic diplomacy, and Airbus stock price, the proxy of the reaction to the economic diplomacy, was observed to verify the influence of it. The study categorized the summit talks by the type of participants whether the top politicians were included or not. The result shows that, among all summit talks, the summit talks between top politicians between the EU and China influence the stock price of Airbus positively, and it is statistically significant.
This paper aims to analyse the comparative advantage of selected agricultural products for both EU and China in the context of EU-China bilateral trade and explore how the trade specialization changes along with the economic development based on the data between 2001 and 2017. First, we obtain the static results from both a comparative advantage perspective and a trade complementarity perspective. We then analyse three types of trade specialization dynamics by using the OLS regression and Markov Transition Probability Matrix from a more dynamic perspective. Results show that EU's comparative advantage includes meat products, dairy products, animal originated products, preparations of cereals or milk products, beverages, wool, and vegetable textile fibers. China has a comparative advantage in fish, animal originated products, edible vegetable, lac, gums, resins, vegetable, plaiting materials, preparations of vegetables, silk, wool, and vegetable textile fibers. We also find that both EU and China have unstable trade specialization for their agricultural products trade and we give policy implications for EU-China bilateral trade based on the results.
Top 10 investor economies by FDI stock, 2013 and 2017 (Billions of dollars). Source: UNCTAD, World Investment Report 2019
The twenty-first century has brought in its wake a flurry of competing foreign investment players on the African investment sphere. This situation may be called the globalization of foreign investment (Bodomo 2017). Foreign investment features as a salient issue for intellectual discussions of topics such as agency, soft power, and symmetry. In this paper, we outline the important role that China and the European Union (EU), the biggest investment polities in Africa, have played in the globalization of investment in Africa and argue that China has, indeed, created a paradigm shift with respect to its investment engagement with the African continent. This paradigm shift may be calibrated in terms of the volume of engagement; in terms of the speed and efficiency with which investment projects are completed, and, in terms of the very discourse of trade and investment. The argument is advanced further by discussing some of the main features of Chinese investment that distinguish it from that of other global players on the African continent, such as Europe. We further extend arguments from our previous work (Bodomo 2017; Bodomo and Che 2020) to say that if Africa does not sharpen its agency, the end result may be that China and the EU may gain at the expense of Africa but that should Africa play a more proactive and controlling role such as enforcing its investment laws, the mid-twenty-first century may yet see a trilateral win–win-win outcome for Africa, China, and the EU.
This paper provides a historical overview regarding the emergence, development and deepening of divergences between the European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China (China) in reducing global aviation emissions. It focuses on their divergences on three specific issues, i.e. under which framework to tackle global aviation emissions, whether and how to reflect the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) principle in the design and implementation of the global market-based measures (MBMs) for international aviation and which role the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should play in offsetting these emissions. Besides, this paper explains the driving forces behind these divergences by examining both normative and economic-related factors, which have formed different stances of both sides. From a Chinese perspective, considerations about the issues of state sovereignty, fairness regarding burden sharing in tackling climate change, the development of China’s aviation and aircraft manufacturing and its limited capability in promoting the large-scale SAF deployment help explain its hardline stance on reducing global aviation emissions. As for the EU, perceptions of its leading role in the global climate governance and the CBDR-RC principle, the targets of strengthening the EU ETS role in the global carbon market, and the competitiveness of the European airlines are underlying reasons behind its attempt to include the international aviation under its ETS. Moreover, the EU member states’ support to the ICAO can be explained through the conformity between the emissions offsetting objectives under this organisation and the EU’s current climate policies.
The relationship between supervisors and postgraduates is a key factor in postgraduate education, and a harmonious supervisor-postgraduate relationship is a prerequisite for ensuring the quality of postgraduate education. This study analyzes the problems, causes, and solutions of the distorted supervisor-postgraduate relationship. In order to clarify the specific manifestations and causes of the distorted supervisor-postgraduate relationship, this study analyzed ten suicide cases through case studies. In order to sort out the governance initiatives to address the distorted supervisor-postgraduate relationship, this study analyzed the policy documents of postgraduate education in China through policy analysis. The findings indicated that the distortion of supervisor-postgraduate relationship manifests itself as a relationship of employment and control, stemming from the influence of the traditional apprenticeship value habits, and the distortion of academic value under academic capitalism. In order to address the distortion of the supervisor-postgraduate relationship, China has introduced various policy initiatives, such as attaching importance to ethics education and refining the duties and standards of supervisors, reforming the supervisor selection system and establishing supervisor certification, improving the tutor evaluation mechanism and implementing a “one vote veto” on tutor ethics, and strengthening tutor training and improving supervisors’ moral education capabilities.
Overlapping dimensions of CPE
In this article, we explore the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a case of “Contingent Power Extension” (CPE) towards the European Union (EU), assessing its implications for regional (dis)integration in the latter. CPE is a conceptual prism that interprets the BRI as a polymorphous, dynamic, and context-specific mechanism through which Chinese foreign policy elites intend to convey, amplify, and legitimize the regime’s power-reach into other regions, including the EU. Along two examples—the 14 + 1 Cooperation Forum and the Port of Genoa in Italy—we examine the power dynamics of the BRI by tracing (a) the processual impact of power extension towards the EU and (b) the (un)intended consequences for the EU in terms of (dis)integration. The findings of our analysis provide an insight into the multicausal relations between the BRI and European (dis)integration not as a static outcome but rather as a contested process of struggle. The article concludes by discussing whether and how the EU can strengthen its own institutional foundations and use its systemic leverage to respond to the BRI while enhancing regional integration in the process.
Amid rising uncertainty in the global economy and unprecedented economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of supply chain resilience has gained increasing popularity in ASEAN and the EU. However, by comparing their paths to resilient supply chains, this article argues that while both organizations regard resilience as a departure from past doctrines of pure economic efficiency, each has a different understanding of and approach to supply chain resilience. While for ASEAN, supply chain resilience is meant to reconcile inward- and outward-looking dimensions to support ASEAN competitiveness, within the EU, resilience is associated with the search for strategic autonomy with an internal focus. Despite these differences, both groups regard sustainability and digital transformation as crucial components of supply chain resilience, which they see as a way to enhance their economic cooperation and strategic partnership.
Chinese universities are undergoing a decentralization reform that academic schools take the responsibility for its own running. Under the framework of the financial management system of “Unified Leadership, Two-level Management, and Centralized Accounting,” this decentralization reform primarily targets to establish a cost accounting and settlement system for various undertakings with schools as the main body; build a multi-level economic responsibility system centered at the school; and establish and improve efficient system restraint mechanism, supervision and management mechanism, accountability mechanism, and performance evaluation mechanism. The main purpose of this study is to introduce a case of a Chinese university concentrating on this reform. The primary contents of the reform will be introduced, followed by a discussion about some responses and introspections to the reform.
Evolution of relative shares of climate justice dimensions in MEP speeches over time
Evolution of use of narratives on China’s and India’s role in climate politics within MEP speeches (relative shares) (1994–2019)
Evolution of MEPs’ use of climate justice narratives on China and India across political groups (relative shares) (1994–2019)
Justice and responsibility are central notions shaping the international climate negotiations. However, countries have different perspectives on how to translate these concepts into solutions for climate change. In this process, actors such as the European Union (EU) play a central role, by trying to persuade other large greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters to take on their (historical) responsibilities and by supporting developing countries. At the same time, China and India have become central actors in international climate negotiations. Due to their rapid economic growth and rising GHG emissions, their climate action is crucial for achieving global goals, while their historical emissions are very different from those of Western countries. To shed light on the EU’s perspective on climate justice, and the particular role of China and India therein, this article analyses Members of European Parliament’s (MEPs) narratives in plenary debates on foreign climate policy between 1996 and 2019. MEPs’ views contribute to shaping the EU’s position on the topic, but also provide useful insights into the political dynamics of the debate. The paper finds that climate justice is mentioned in less than half of the MEPs’ speeches, but that its salience increased over time and became more diverse in terms of different dimensions of climate justice. We also uncover that MEPs’ positions on China and India evolved with the rise in their emissions, becoming increasingly critical over time. However, there is a significant variance amongst political groups’ positions, between those on the right and the left end of the political spectrum.
Over the past decade, the series of crises in the EU, the rise of China, and the outbreak of the global pandemic have complicated contemporary EU-China relations. In this context, studies on the bilateral relationship have thrived. However, little is known how the complex relationship is reflected in the self-construction of one side through the understanding of the other. This special issue aims to contribute to this area. It consists of five articles, revealing the communication gap as seen from three perspectives, namely, official policy statements, mass media representations, and public opinion polls. Together, these sources provide empirical evidence on the different interpretations of “the other” in the reflection of “self” between the EU and China and the consequences they have caused. The special issue of this journal will shed light on the logical growth point and current soil of EU-China relations and help to promote mutual understanding and the establishment of mutual trust.
Change of feeling towards China among Europeans in the past three years (% of respondents)
Word cloud showing first responses when asked about China
Feelings towards China according to the respondents’ preference about Brexit
Brexit and political ideology interact to shape attitudes towards Chinese foreign and human rights policies, with Leave voters on the UK Right the most negative, and Remain voters on the UK Right the most negative
Westminster parliamentary debates on China
How did Britons view China in 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic? This paper presents new, detailed evidence of the negative and worsening perceptions of China in the UK across three domains: public opinion (based on survey data collected in autumn 2020), political elites in parliament, and the media. The worsening of perceptions of China emerged in the context of a changing and more contested China policy from the UK government and a greater level of public debate about China, partly a consequence of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper places analysis of these perceptions in the context of the development of relations between the UK and China. Together with deteriorating Chinese views of the UK’s China policy and controversy over a number of developments in China, widespread negative views about China among the British public and in political circles will constrain UK-China relations from developing in a more positive direction.
This research responds to an increasing volume of scholarly literature unpacking the recent dynamics of EU foreign policy discourses and practices vis-à-vis China. Drawing on the theoretical approach of collective securitisation, this article shows that EU foreign policy towards China since the mid-2010s has witnessed increasing collective securitisation moves directed at multiple policy frames, including Asian regional security frame, economic security frame, political security frame and information and technology and cybersecurity frame. The EU’s attempts to securitise China as an existential threat across multiple issue areas have been triggered by a combination of long-term trends and specifc sets of precipitating events, which contributed to galvanising the EU’s collective securitising discourses and subsequent policy initiatives. However, this research fnds that the EU’s securitising moves and relevant speech acts have not resulted in a coherent audience response among the EU member states. The divergent views held by the EU’s internal audience on whether China should be perceived as an existential threat have hampered the implementation of the EU’s collective policy outputs.
In the context of globalization and internationalization, several common development trends and challenges have emerged in higher education systems around the world. These will have an impact on the individual university governance structures. Since the international university network gets an increasing importance and several university functions are shared within that network, it is crucial to take the international context into account when reshaping the university governance structure. Although several publications are dedicated to the countrywide or regional governance principles in the EU member states, it is often impossible to assimilate these global descriptions to the individual governance structure of a particular university. In this paper, we conduct case studies on five Chinese universities and five European universities from the perspective of governance structure, from four dimensions of the internal democratic nature, the external involvement, the level of centralization of decision-making authority, and the level of individual responsibility. This study analyzes the differences and commonalities between both. Chinese universities have a unified governance structure that is statutory based on the “President Responsibility System” in which the university’s party committee is officially designated to play the core role of leading the university. EU universities are more diversified in their governance principles, and each of them has its own unique features. To achieve better and deeper cooperation and collaboration between EU and Chinese universities, it is critical to understand and acknowledge these differences. Future research can add more dimensions and factors to broaden the scope of the analysis.
The structure between the four powers in the Chinese university
Schematic diagram of changes in management mode of Chinese and European universities
Nowadays, China increasingly sees education as a critical component of becoming a world emerging power. Since 2015, China has implemented its new education strategy, named the “World first-class universities and world first-class disciplines” project. In this context, the university’s internal governance has become a critical factor for the Chinese standards to construct world first-class universities. The Chinese government has published a series of related documents to enhance university autonomy and improve external conditions with university governance’s mechanism reform. The paper firstly discusses the research statutes and proposes the analytical framework based on the stakeholder theory and quadrilateral model. Secondly, it presents the history and progress of the university’s internal governance in China and Europe and summarizes their experiences and characteristics. Thirdly, it discusses the similarities and differences between Europe and China in the universities’ internal governance, which focuses on the internal governance framework and the power distribution. In this way, the university budget and finance, teacher’s appointment and promotion, enrollment power, curriculum design, research, and even the housing and equipment assignment are all analyzed. Finally, it summarizes China and Europe’s internal governance models with the key factors and prominent features in the different models. It also discusses the common issues that the universities are facing in internal governance.
Structure of industry output of the EU countries and Japan (%).
Source: GTAP database ver.9
Structure of export of the EU countries and Japan (%).
Source: GTAP database ver.9
NTM estimates.
Source 1: Sunesen et al. (2010); Source 2: Felbermayr et al. (2017); Source 3: European Comission (2018)
The effects of trade liberalisation (mln USD).
Source: Own calculations
This paper assesses the economic impact of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) on all EU member states as well as Japan. The novelty of this study is that it refers to all EU countries and provides an overview of the expected output effects of JEEPA for all member states in a detailed sectoral breakdown. This impact is investigated using the Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) framework. Calculations revealed that economic returns from JEEPA vary among the EU countries. Some of the more highly developed EU countries will experience beneficial effects from tariff reductions to a greater extent than others, while some of the newer, less-developed EU members will experience losses, caused by the lower competitiveness of these countries. Beneficial effects in the EU countries are expected mainly in the primary sector industries like meat and animal products, leather, grains, and crops; while in Japan, economic gains are expected in the motor vehicle and transport equipment industries. Despite the overall optimism accompanying the signing of the JEEPA, it is worth paying attention to the sectors that are expected to shrink as a result.
Since 2011, the European Union’s (EU) free trade agreements (FTAs) include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter which provides for environmental and labour commitments. Nevertheless, the ratification and implementation of these commitments remain insufficient. It is therefore essential to analyse whether the EU has become more ambitious in enforcing the TSD chapter. To analyse the chapter’s enforceability, the EU’s FTAs with South Korea, Canada and Japan have been compared. The comparative analysis was based on three elements: the labour and environmental commitments, institutional mechanisms and the enforcement procedure. Concerning the latter, the ongoing EU-Korea dispute settlement case over workers’ rights in South Korea is the leading example. Until the Commission reveals more assertive enforcement plans, it can be said that the EU has not become more ambitious in enforcing its TSD chapter. Since no major changes were detected in the comparative analysis, several interviewees proposed enforcement mechanisms.
The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is an ambitious regional trade agreement, signed by both parties in 2019 and ratified by the European Parliament in February 2020. Like many other ‘new-generation’ RTAs, this agreement is well known for its WTO + and WTO-X provisions. This paper analyzes typical WTO + and WTO-X provisions of the EVFTA, focusing on their concepts, contents and legal enforceability. This paper argues that environmental and human rights protection provisions, which are ‘grafted’ into the regional trade legal system under the form of WTO-X provisions, do not have the same legal value as WTO + provisions. As a result, the EVFTA remains mainly a trade agreement and cannot be counted upon as the sufficient condition to establish harmonization between pillars of sustainable development.
This study analyses the effects of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on Japan and the EU’s 28 countries since it was enforced in 2019. The Japan-EU EPA has positive beneficial effects on the two participating economies, Japan and the EU. The removal of trade barriers and NTMs leads to more competition, more trade efficiency improvements, and ultimately more benefits to the participating countries/regions. Japan and the EU can benefit from the Japan-EU EPA by removing tariffs as a part of a trade liberalisation policy. The reduction of NTMs is important to liberalise international trade and get more benefits from the Japan-EU EPA. The Japan-EU EPA and trade liberalisation deal can contribute to not only Japan and the EU’s bilateral trade but also mutual GDPs and welfare levels. However, while non-participating countries, such as South Korea, may be negatively affected by the Japan-EU EPA, it produces positive overall welfare effects for the rest of the world.
The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is a balanced, high-level, and mutually beneficial investment agreement. It not only sets up a new legal framework for China-EU economic and trade relations, but also provides stability for China-EU bilateral relations in an uncertain world experiencing major changes.
The major objective of the China-EU CAI was to facilitate a rebalancing of the bilateral relationship by improving access for European companies to the Chinese market and leveling the playing field for them in China. While progress on the former is hard to deny, the situation is less rosy on the latter, and whether China will expeditiously implement its commitments remains an open question. France—one of the driving forces behind the deal—shares the European Commission’s optimism and considers that the agreement represents a step forward and a sign of China’s willingness to open up further.
The announcement of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) at the end of December 2020 triggered an intense debate. The deal has found many supporters inside Europe and in China—but also opposition coming from some European quarters and the USA. It is thus crucial to examine the pros and cons of CAI—an accord that if ratified would boost trade and investment relations between the EU and China as well as have profound implications for the USA which is actively working to create a common front with the European allies to counter Beijing’s increased self-confidence and assertiveness.
The formal conclusion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investments (CAI) has drawn much criticism. Criticisms for member states did not always recognise the same critical points. The case of Italy presents an instance in which the issue rather than laying in the content of the agreement was identified in the process. Not only had Italy been marginalised in the process of negotiation that led to the conclusion of the CAI, but also exponents from the government claim that leading negotiators, amongst which France and Germany, ignored Italy’s doubts about the deal when these were raised. Beyond politics, the paper shows that the Italian business community displays a response to the agreement in line with that of the rest of the EU in its positive assessment of the outcome.
The negotiations for an EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) were completed, after seven years and 35 rounds, on December 30, 2020. The main text was published by the European Commission on January 22, and important annexes (which actually list sectors open for investment and the reservations made by each party) were published on March 12. According to François Godement, Senior Advisor for Asia at Institut Montaigne and author of this piece, “CAI is now in danger from both ends: it is hard to envisage a European Parliament ratifying the agreement while some of its members are sanctioned by China, and easy to imagine that China can sustain a test of will in today’s charged political atmosphere.”
Term frequency of ‘yinlingzhe/yinling’ (2009–2019)
This article offers a novel understanding of China’s changing engagement in global climate governance over the past decade. This article argues that China has embedded the construction of its international identity, which has been transforming towards what this article conceptualizes to be a ‘Yinling leading power’, in promoting and leading global climate governance. China’s transforming identity construction has contributed to changing its construction of climate justice and led China to proactively undertake more responsibilities, provide international public goods and promote international climate cooperation. Global climate governance has become one of China’s prototypical discursive frames in constructing its new international identity, an important platform where China seeks to share leadership with other major powers and the climate leadership in turn constitutes China’s new identity. However, China’s inadequate response to international expectations and lack of self-reflection in its climate policy have influenced international recognition on its climate leadership and new identity. In general, China’s transforming identity construction and its reconstruction of climate justice have far-reaching implications for China and Europe to cooperate and coordinate in strengthening global climate justice and promoting global climate governance.
Climate justice is a concept with many different and competing interpretations. It has salience at intra-country, inter-country and intergenerational levels of climate politics. While inter-country climate justice has long been on the agenda of United Nations climate negotiations, the intra-country and intergenerational aspects of climate justice have assumed new prominence in many countries in recent years, as the economic consequences of mitigation became felt and transnational activism highlighted youth concerns. The diverse elements of and approaches to climate justice have this in common: realising them requires massive financial interventions and reforms. This article examines the still emerging frameworks to finance climate justice in two of the jurisdictions most important to the global response to climate change: the European Union and the People’s Republic of China. The EU and China have in common that they are both on the front line of financial innovation to respond to climate change. They are utilising similar tools of systemic financial intervention in order to transition financing to climate-friendly investment, in the first case domestically, but with clear implications for global financial markets. However, the EU and China are utilising climate financing mechanisms in the context of very different prevailing perspectives on climate justice. This article interrogates the relationship between these different perspectives on climate justice and the distribution, scale and pace of climate finance. The article also observes that while the EU incorporated climate justice considerations in its economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic with a recovery package prioritising climate action, China did not take the opportunity to foster a ‘green recovery’.
This paper studies regional treatment effects of infrastructure projects on employment and transport volumes by combining quantitative econometric methods with qualitative case studies. The quantitative approach we use is the synthetic control method, which allows for the analysis of causal effects on particular treatment groups. The regions of interest in our study are Duisburg and Piraeus. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence reveal that the impact on maritime transportation in Piraeus is very significant. While the quantitative evidence shows a rather modest effect on employment before 2016, the qualitative evidence suggests a more significant effect in recent years. We interpret this as the postponed effects from infrastructure provision on various outcome variables. Moreover, we find that rail transport does not crowd out local road transport.
The significance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Europe is increasing. The diplomatic initiative “16 + 1,” comprising China and 16 Central, East and Southeast European economies (CESEE), expanded to a “17 + 1” format in April 2019, when Greece officially joined the cooperation forum. This expansion revived interest in Chinese activities aimed at better physical and digital connectivity in Europe and their effects. The article descriptively shows a geographical division of Chinese infrastructure development activities in Europe: the “17 + 1” region is targeted more intensively by Chinese construction projects. Moreover, roughly 90% of all construction contracts with the “17 + 1” region are attributable to connectivity sectors, while Chinese activities in other European regions are more diversified. In Europe, the Western Balkans are expected to economically benefit the most from the BRI, as they show particularly high deficiencies in infrastructure, and so far, have limited access to EU grants. Economic effects of infrastructure projects, however, trickle through European production and supply chains, affecting a larger number of countries than information on projects would suggest. EU initiatives presented since 2018 may help to increase complementarity between Chinese and European infrastructure development plans and reduce associated risks, such as unsustainable debt or new trade barriers arising from increased competition for Chinese investments. The BRI is about to change physical and digital connectivity within Europe, while the EU has yet to become an active player engaging in the initiative, in order to enable improved connectivity in Europe to drive economic convergence and not political divergence.
After 35 rounds of talks over the past seven years, the negotiations on the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) passed the finishing line at the end of 2020, a timely gift for the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties. As a most comprehensive and significant economic and trade agreement between China and the EU, CAI marks a highly relevant step to meet the expectations of different sectors and should be cherished by both sides.
As the EU officials and their Chinese counterparts emphasised the end of 2020 as the date for a successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI, the Agreement), the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were sceptical. However, after discussions, with Lithuania appearing to be the most visible opponent of CAI among the Baltic nations, all three eventually upheld the proposal. Understanding that the ratification of CAI is unlikely after the mutual exchange of sanctions between the EU and PRC in March, 2021, the report nevertheless examines the roots of the Baltic position as a case study of inter-EU bargains, inspects what factors contributed to the Baltic position on the issue of CAI, presents the national pro- and counter-arguments to CAI along the domains of geo-politics, values, and economy, and brings up the dilemmas that remain unsolved.
This paper aims to explore various possibilities in the evolving global gas market by constructing game-theoretical models involving the major players: Russia and Qatar exporting gas to the Asia-Pacific and Europe, respectively. We explore a series of hypothetical scenarios based on competitive and collusive settings for the Asia-Pacific LNG market and based on Qatar’s export route to the European gas market. The scenarios that are examined are (1) Russia as the follower and Qatar as the leader in a Stackelberg game; (2) Russia and Qatar as Cournot competitors; (3) collaboration between Russia and Qatar as bilateral monopolies; (4) Qatar exporting gas to European borders; (5) Qatar exporting gas to the last transit country; and (6) Qatar transporting gas to the Turkish border under a multi-pricing scheme. Demand is estimated under each scenario to simulate the respective export volumes, prices and quantities, and profit in each scenario. By exploring these market interactions, we find that it is essential for Russia to strike a deal with Qatar in the Asian market and accelerate their gas production in order to compete as an LNG market leader. Russia is likely to benefit more if it can link with Qatar to act as a monopoly on their segmental demand curve. On the other hand, Qatar’s profit is expected to be higher under the scenario when Qatar sells all the gas to the last transit country as the sole demand point instead of passing through transit countries.
This paper aims to investigate the impact of infrastructure on trade in Central Asia based on the data of three countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Empirical estimations are based on panel data for the period 2010–2018. Infrastructure is measured by quality and quantity indicators. Trade flows are measured by the export and import volumes of each of these countries with their main trade partner countries. The results show that both the quality and quantity of infrastructure in Central Asia have a positive impact on trade flows. However, the positive impact of infrastructure over trade demonstrates a diminishing trend. Given the general remote geographical location of Central Asian countries, the findings of this study indicate that a regional approach to the development of infrastructure is important and that policy towards infrastructure development should be associated with a government policy that facilitates international trade.
Arctic political map, by Hugo Ahlenius (Cartographer),
In 2008, the European Commission perceived the European Union (EU) in an excellent position to collaborate with the five Euro-Arctic states and its strategic partners Canada, Russia, and the USA to shape Arctic governance in the fast-changing environment. However, the Arctic coastal states rejected the EU’s multilateral governance approach, while China has emerged as a significant factor in the Arctic. In 2018, China announced the Polar Silk Road to connect East Asia with Europe via Arctic shipping and other connectivity projects. In 2019, the EU started to perceive China as a systemic rival concerning the Belt and Road Initiative. What is the impact of China on the EU’s Arctic policies in the Euro-Arctic environment? What are the prospects for collaboration between the EU and China on joint issues? This paper applies process tracing to analyse China’s and the EU’s Arctic socialization in the early twenty-first century at three critical junctures of Arctic politics. At these junctures, the paper introduces the Arctic situation and the emerging problems, development in agenda setting, the policy processes, and the outcomes of the EU’s and China’s Arctic approaches. It argues that China’s rise as a maritime and Arctic power and its close relations with Russia along the Northern Sea Route shaped the EU’s Arctic policies and their shift towards the Barents sub-Arctic region. Implications are more interaction among both there, as China’s Polar Silk Road might also challenge the EU’s regulatory approach in the Euro-Arctic.
This paper offers a comparative perspective on a specific issue of the indigenous peoples of the Saami and the Karen. The groups being compared are from Europe and Asia, selected on the basis of their particular circumstances of living in more than one State. However, while the Saami are a relatively well-treated people that enjoy a form of cultural autonomy; the Karen are in a far worse situation with regard to their legal position as well as actual living conditions. The authors examine the cultural, political, and legal aspects of the Saami and the Karen situations and compare their common experience and aspirations. The article attempts to answer the question as to what the similarities and differences between the two indigenous peoples are and what lessons can be learned by those peoples that may be helpful in realizing their aspirations.
In March 2015, the UK applied to become a founder member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) despite objections from the Foreign Office and Washington, DC, and ahead of other major western countries although they were to follow quickly. What explains the British decision? The paper argues that the underlying long-run reasons included shifting perceptions of American and Chinese power, economic imperatives, the institutional opportunities offered to pursue “venue-shopping” strategies within the British state, and widespread ambivalence about UK policy towards China. Furthermore, although analyses often eschew “snapshot” perspectives, short-run perceptions that the UK could, by joining the AIIB at that point, gain a first mover advantage that would provide greater access to Chinese markets, secure contracts across Asia for British firms, and enable the City of London to win an even greater share of the offshore renminbi trade proved decisive.
Top-cited authors
Mai Nguyen
  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences/Centre for Applied Research on Education
Albert Pilot
  • Utrecht University
Cees Terlouw
  • Saxion University of Applied Sciences
Anna-Katharina Hornidge
  • Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research
Hans-Dieter Evers
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia