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Europe in the face of US-China rivalry

A report by the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC), January 2020

The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) has devoted its fifth year of meetings and research to analyse – from a national, bottom-up approach – how the EU is responding to increased US-Chinese geopolitical rivalry.

The report contains 18 country chapters, all from EU member states, and a further one focused on the EU’s perspective on Europe’s difficult balancing act between the US, a long-term strategic and economic partner, and China, the EU’s second most important market and, probably, the next economic superpower.

The report was edited by Mario Esteban and Miguel Otero-Iglesias along with MERICS analyst Lucrezia Poggetti, Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova, Alice Ekman, Björn Jerdén, John Seaman, Tim Summers and Justyna Szczudlik.

MERICS expert Jan Weidenfeld contributed the chapter on Germany-China relations. He argues that Germany’s China policy has undergone a major overhaul in recent years, as a growing number of German government officials have come to see China as a  systemic competitor’ and even as a ‘systemic rival’. Beijing’s attempts to capitalise on the difficult relationship between Berlin and Washington under US President Donald Trump have therefore largely fallen flat.

The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) is a gathering of China experts from a selection of European policy research institutes. It is devoted to the policy-oriented study of Chinese foreign policy and relations between China and European countries as well as China and the EU.