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Prospects and Challenges for EU-China Relations in the 21st Century

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement


Edited By Jing Men and Giuseppe Balducci

In 25 years, EU-China relations have come far, further than many could have imagined – but how much further can these relations be taken? Today, their bilateral relations are at a crossroads. In effect, it has been 25 years since the EU and China agreed upon the legally binding Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, which sets the basis for their diplomatic relations. In an ever increasingly complex and globalised international environment, these actors have become mutually interdependent on a variety of levels. In 2007, they agreed to revise and update the 1985 accord and replace it with an all-encompassing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. However, more than three years passed, and there are many points of contention which need to be negotiated. What obstacles are blocking this agreement? How can these obstacles be overcome? What concessions should be made and where?
This book will provide an up-to-date analysis of the problematic concerns, and the means to resolve these issues, that range from human rights, to international trade conflicts and climate change.


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CHAPTER 8 The EU, China and Human Rights. Normative Partnership or Antagonism in Disguise? (Katrin Kinzelbach) 197


197 CHAPTER 8 The EU, China and Human Rights Normative Partnership or Antagonism in Disguise? Katrin KINZELBACH1 Prior to the agreement reached at the 2006 EU-China Helsinki Summit, it was decided to start negotiations on the PCA – the EU’s policy papers on China were already full of references to the concept of partnership, such as the 1998 Communication Building a Comprehensive Partnership, the 2003 Paper A Maturing Partnership and, issued shortly after the Helsinki Summit, the 2006 Communication Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities. None of these papers define the term partnership or mention conditions for the partnership. The 2003 European Security Strategy (ESS) A Secure Europe in a Better World, on the other hand, specifies a normative condition for the EU’s partnerships. It is consistent with the China policy papers in that it mentions China among the EU’s key strategic partners, but the ESS also clarifies that this category is reserved for countries that “share our goals and values, and are prepared to act in their support.”2 The security policy leaves no doubt that democracy and human rights form a prominent part of the EU’s goals and values. For example, it states that: “the best protection for our security is a world of well-governed democratic states. Spreading good governance, dealing with corruption and abuse of power, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights are the best means of strengthening the international order.”3 The security policy recognises that the promotion of democracy and human rights was identified as...

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