EU-China summit – Background brief


Agenda highlights

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will co-host the 21st  EU-China summit. High Representative Federica Mogherini will also attend the summit.

At the last European Council meeting,  EU leaders had a strategic discussion on the EU-China relations to prepare the summit:

“Our aim is to focus on achieving a balanced relation, which ensures fair competition and equal market access. In this context, we hope to persuade China to include industrial subsidies as a crucial element of the WTO reform.”

European Council President Donald Tusk, 22/03/2019

Ahead of the summit, the Commission and the High Representative issued a joint communication stressing that neither the EU nor any of its member states can effectively achieve their aims with China without full unity.

EU and Chinese leaders will seek to strengthen bilateral cooperation. They will discuss bilateral trade and investment relations, including the fair and non-discriminatory treatment for their economic operators.

Both sides will also discuss the future of global governance and how to tackle common challenges. The EU and China are expected to reaffirm their commitment to multilateralism with the UN at its core. They are also likely to express their support to the work of G20 and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

EU and Chinese leaders will address the issues of sustainable development and cybersecurity including, the security of 5G networks.

The summit will also be an opportunity to discuss their different initiatives to better connect Europe and Asia. Further synergies should be identified within the framework of the EU-China connectivity platform.  

In addition, foreign security and human rights issues will be on the agenda including:

  • the situation in the Korean peninsula
  • Iran and the nuclear deal (JCPOA)
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • Afghanistan
  • the Venezuela crisis
  • Myanmar

Following the EU-China human rights dialogue in Brussels on 1-2 April, the summit will provide an opportunity for the EU to reiterate, at leaders’ level, its commitment to human rights and the rule of law as a core part of its engagement with China.