Criticisms of the investment agreement that the European Union has closed with China

The European Union celebrated New Year’s Eve by congratulating itself on the investment agreement it had just concluded with China, after seven years of negotiations.

But not everyone is happy. The future US administration would have preferred a joint strategy, and several MEPs regret that it does not place enough emphasis on defending human rights.

Some even say they are willing to block the agreement in the European Parliament.

“The EU-China investment agreement is certainly not very helpful from the point of view of transatlantic cooperation because Joe Biden’s incoming team indicated very clearly that they expected to have some kind of prior consultation and the Europeans responded coldly,” Reinhard explains. Bütikofer, MEP of the group The Greens and chairman of the delegation in charge of relations with China of the European Parliament.

Some experts believe Joe Biden is likely to take a less aggressive approach than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who put a lot of pressure on Brussels to stand up to the Asian giant.

“I think the Biden administration is going to try to start from scratch, and also that it is going to try to develop a policy of allies, which involves working with democratic partners, starting with Europe,” says Jonas Parello-Plesner of the Foundation. Alliance of Democracies. “I think both sides are looking forward to working together, particularly to confront the authoritarian side of Chinese global power.”

Another concern lies in the reliability of China, which has not always honored its commitments in the past. Which could become another reason for Brussels and Washington to choose to join forces.

“The bigger question is: can China be trusted right now?” Asks Parello-Plesner. “China is intimidating Hong Kong despite the agreement it reached with the UK to keep the system intact until 2047. China is intimidating Australia even though they have a trade agreement. My hope would be that now, with the arrival of the administration Biden, there is more coordination and that in the future agreements are reached from a position of joint force. “

The agreement must be ratified by the European Parliament and by the Member States through the Council. And it is not ruled out that the pact could end up derailing. Which would illustrate, once again, the difficulty of dealing with an authoritarian superpower that is both an economic rival and a lucrative market.