This perception of China as a revisionist power, but not actively destructive, has long conditioned European policy. In recent years, Europe has hardened its approach to China in general, for many of the same reasons as the United States. This includes deepening authoritarianism under Xi`s authority; abandoning China`s hopes for sound economic reform; a complete reaffirmation of the role of the Chinese Communist Party throughout social and economic life; outsourcing by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese government`s most problematic political and economic practices; and accelerating Beijing`s techno-nationalist agenda through the Made in China 2025 strategy and China Standards 2035 plans. Europe is engaged in a new debate on China. Last year, the European Union published a strategy paper in which it called China a “systemic rival,” reflecting a significant shift in its assumptions about Sino-European relations. The pandemic continues to tilt that balance. It is certainly not by preference: European policy-makers prefer to face the urgent health and economic challenges they face in the face of largely suspended geopolitical competition. Pragmatic cooperation with Beijing to ensure the necessary medical care remains a priority on the bilateral agenda for a number of European countries, while the need to revive the economies shaken by the summits will inform many of their decisions in the coming months. But even in the midst of a crisis, China`s attempts to exploit political and economic weaknesses in Europe have required a boost, whether against disinformation campaigns or attempts to target strategic assets.
Libya`s delegated rival governments agreed on Thursday during talks in Morocco on the criteria for appointing the country`s most important institutions, he said in a joint statement. Nevertheless, European political leaders remain very reluctant, and not only because of the need to maintain the smooth running of one of their country`s greatest economic relations. Many of them expected competition and even rivalry with China to act under the cloak of courtesy. Neither side would take the knife in politically unfavourable times. Where possible, cooperation would continue. And if the parties were faced with an impending crisis, the channels of close coordination between them would work smoothly.