China’s West meets Europe’s East

Event: Regional and International Affairs

Workshop and Symposium jointly organized by East China Normal University (ECNU), SIIS and FES Shanghai.

Photo: Professor Chen Dongxiao in discussion with Dr. Steven Blockmans who before gave a presentation on “EU under a new leadership: Different priorities for EU’s foreign policy?”

World politics have witnessed a turbulent year 2014. The Ukraine crisis has worsened relations between Europe and Russia tremendously and while the international community has been divided over several issues, new opportunities of cooperation emerged. Having been promoted to a higher level by Xi Jinping’s visit to EU institutions in the spring of 2014, the EU-China strategic partnership has become more interdependent and even more important. These cooperative efforts had been preceded by the political developments of the previous years. Both China and Europe had intensified their involvement in Central-Asia and Eastern Europe and China had launched key initiatives such as the 16+1 Cooperation Platform and the new Silk Road Economic Belt to boost regional collaboration and development and deal with questions of stability in the near and far neighbourhood.

In this context, FES Shanghai held a dual event on December 3rd - 5th 2014, which focused on the importance of Eurasia for stability, energy security and economic growth and evaluated the potential for EU-China cooperation in this region. The forum started with a separate workshop at East China Normal University (ECNU), which gave the opportunity to assess the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and to discuss chances and difficulties for the EU and China in Central Asia. It was followed by a conference with different experts at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), which further elaborated current EU-China relations, referred to China’s growing influence on neighboring countries in Central-Asia and also offered two working-group sessions in which specific projects of cooperation in Eurasia were discussed and advanced. The SIIS conference closed with a public debate about the transition of geopolitics and its implications on China and Europe.

Several experts from academia and think tanks, as well as diplomatic missions and government institutions, participated in the discussion round and introduced this important topic to the general public.

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