The European Union is facing the challenge of developing a coherent reaction to the increased economic activity of China in Europe. Beijing’s policy of foreign economic expansion and its leap to digital economy are affecting Europe, despite the geographical distance. China is strengthening its position as one of the main actors on the global scene as elements of the New Silk Road will be built in European cities, Chinese companies are buying European technological manufacturers and the trade exchange as well as Chinese investment level in Europe are increasing dramatically. The purpose of this article is to answer the question about the way the EU should react to such Chinese policy. In order to do so the research problem related to the process of shaping this reaction up to now has been analysed. The following research questions have been formulated: what are the sore points and weaknesses which the European side needs to limit? On which fields should the EU develop its partnership with China in the first place? What are the assets on the side of the EU, of which it should make a better use in relations with Beijing? Within the process of resolving these questions the following hypotheses have been formulated: even if not deliberately, Chinese policy contributes to a fragmentation of the European unity; intensity of EU countries’ relations with China is inversely proportional to their engagement in a common European action on contentious topics in the EU-Chinese agenda; coherent European strategy towards China is necessary in order to limit disintegration tendencies as well as to mitigate unfavourable effects of Chinese activity on the internal European market. Three guidelines can be defined as a conclusion drawn from the analysis conducted: introducing a level playing field into reciprocal relations, protection of the European unity and building a strong negotiating position by the EU. An assumption could be made that shaping EU strategy based on these elements will let Europe thoroughly benefit from opportunities provided by the new Chinese economic opening and at the same time limit the possible dangers it carries.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.