Building UK-EU bridges: Convergent China policies?

Think tank: Centre for European Reform

Author(s): Ian Bond

July 10, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Centre for European Reform looks at whether the EU and UK can co-operate more closely in their policy towards China.

No country poses bigger policy challenges to both the EU and the UK than China. Both are struggling to exploit the economic opportunities that China offers while managing the security risks that it creates. In dealing with China, the EU and the UK have many interests in common. But can they co-operate more closely in formulating and implementing policy towards China? And can they make common cause in responding to US pressure to focus on containing Beijing’s rise? In a new CER policy brief, ‘Building UK-EU bridges: Convergent China policies?’, generously supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, CER foreign policy director Ian Bond looks at the evolution of China’s relations with the UK and the EU, from the ‘golden era’ of UK-China relations in 2015 to current efforts by both the UK and the EU to reduce their economic dependencies on China. He considers the similarities and differences in what London and Brussels say about their approach to China, as well as the tougher lines that often emanate from Washington and the effect that those have on European policy-making. In the post-Brexit world, the UK no longer has the influence it used to have on EU foreign policy. The policy brief argues, however, that there are many policy areas where the UK and EU have identical or very similar objectives.