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EU-China. The EC has suspended efforts to ratify the EU investment agreement with China

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The vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, announced that the European Commission has suspended efforts to ratify the investment agreement with China by the European Union countries and the European Parliament. As he pointed out, the current political circumstances are inappropriate for such actions. The contract was concluded at the end of 2020.

“We have suspended some efforts by the Commission in this direction, as it is clear that in the current situation, EU sanctions against China and Chinese counter-sanctions, including against members of the European Parliament, create an environment that is not conducive to ratification of the agreement,” Valdis Dombrovskis told AFP.

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Controversies

Investment agreementwhich the European Commission signed with China on behalf of the EU at the end of 2020, sparked a lot of controversy.

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At the beginning of January this year, at a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels, some countries, including Poland, Italy and Spain, criticized the President of the European Council Charles Michel, Germany and France for the manner in which the signing was announced.

According to EU sources, criticism was raised about the extraordinary acceleration of work on the agreement at the end of last year, so that it would be adopted politically during the German presidency.

It was pointed out that the heads of EU institutions who represent the Community should talk to the Chinese side, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron talked to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping just before the announcement of the agreement. This was received very badly by many countries.

According to unofficial information, the Polish ambassador to the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, on behalf of Poland, indicated the unjustified acceleration of work on the agreement and the failure to take into account the geopolitical context, which was the change of administration after the US presidential election. In addition, the Polish diplomat said that the fact that the Chinese side chooses its partners in the EU, breaking the EU’s unity.

Investment agreement

Charles Michel announced on December 30 that the European Union and China had reached a political agreement on an investment deal. Earlier, he took part in a videoconference with the leaders of France, Germany and China.

The European Commission and the European Council then wrote in a joint communiqué that after intensive negotiations conducted by the EC on behalf of the EU, the EU and China “have essentially completed negotiations on a Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI)”.

“This is in line with the commitment made at the EU-China Summit in April 2019, where both sides agreed to conclude negotiations by the end of 2020. Participants welcomed the active role of the German Presidency of the Council, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who placed a special emphasis on EU-China relations and fully supported the EU’s negotiations with China, “added the press release.

The talks lasted seven years and there were serious discrepancies during them, including concerning forced labor in camps in China, the convention of the International Labor Organization, to which China is not a party, and mutual protection of investments.

The EC had a mandate to negotiate the contract. From a formal point of view, in such situations it concludes political agreements and then the EU Member States carry out the ratification process.

Sanctions

In March, the EU decided to impose sanctions on China for violating human rights against the Uighurs. The situation of this Muslim minority in China is of increasing concern in Europe. These are the first EU sanctions against China in over 30 years.

In response, in March, Beijing imposed retaliatory sanctions against several EU citizens, including members of the European Parliament.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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