OSW Studies

An essential partner in the background. Europe in China's policy during the rule of Xi Jinping

An essential partner in the background

Chinese elites do not treat Europe as an equal partner and are convinced that China holds the upper hand over Europe. They see a growing asymmetry in bilateral relations. China’s sense of its own potential is boosted by internal divisions within the European Union. At the same time, Europe is China’s key economic partner and an ‘economic pillar’ supporting China’s growth on the international stage. Beijing strives to maintain Europe’s open attitude towards the Chinese economy, in particular its exports, technology transfer to China, location of investments and diversification of China’s currency reserves. Cooperation with Europe and support from Europe are necessary to enable China to improve its position in the international economic and financial system, mainly in order to legitimise China’s actions in the area of multilateralism and global governance. Similarly, Beijing attaches great importance to maintaining Europe’s non-involvement in two issues: China’s core interests and Chinese-American relations.