Seeing a dragon, not a panda – A realist turn in the EU’s China policy

23 January 2023, Version 1


The European Union has tried for a long time to socialize China into the rules-based international order, but without much success. As a result, the EU’s China policy has taken a realist turn and adapts to China’s realist and power-centered foreign policy. The EU’s realist turn is analyzed in three major areas of the EU-China relationship: human rights, Taiwan, and trade. In the area of human rights, the EU’s focus has shifted to a global competition with China over the universality of human rights. The EU has also increased support for Taiwan and for maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. In its external trade policy, the EU made first steps to strengthen its economic security and to reduce its dependence on China.



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