Research & Publications


EU-China Summit

2 December 2009

The 12th European Union-China Summit was held in Nanjing, China on 30 November 2009. Chinese and European Union (EU) leaders signed five agreements covering science and technology, a near-zero emission coal project, energy performance and quality in the construction sector, the sustainable development of China’s trade and investment, and EU-China environmental governance.

One of the most contentious issues between the EU and China is the yuan exchange rate. The yuan is pegged to the US dollar, and the euro’s consequential rise against the yuan (around 20 % since the beginning of 2009) affects EU exports to China. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said that “major imbalances because of trade or because of currencies can create problems in the future if they are not fully addressed.” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao rejected these complaints as “unfair”, stressing that the EU maintains trade policies which are “restricting China’s development”. The Summit ended without agreement on the issue and the post-summit declaration did not mention it.

China, a rising power, is increasingly more assertive, and the EU would have to manage this relationship well so as to have a productive partnership. Having China on board is key to solving many of the global challenges including climate change which was also a key issue in the EU-China summit agenda. Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister and the current president of the European Council, acknowledged China’s pledge announced on 26 November to reduce its carbon intensity per unit of GDP by 40-45% on 2005 levels by 2020, but said it does not do enough to keep the planet from warming. “We can’t solve the climate challenges for mankind without China being part of the solution,” Mr Reinfeldt said.

Sources and links to further information:

Official documents

Research papers, policy briefs