This Roundtable organised by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), will serve to increase mutual learning between the EU and China, while also bringing third countries and regions into the conversation, specifically the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. It will address the different priorities and approaches of the various actors, assessing challenges and prospects for cooperation to 2030 and beyond.
Relations between the EU and China face increasing friction, but on issues related to sustainable development and climate change, where both are highly influential in shaping global norms, standards, and pathways, the appetite for cooperation remains high. However, their approaches in the realm of external financing are neither harmonised nor coordinated:
China has emerged as significant source of both foreign direct investment (FDI) and finance in developing countries. Operating in parallel and in some cases in competition with traditional donors and institutions of the Global North, it has increasingly shaped the landscape of international development cooperation in ways not always aligned with OECD-DAC principles. The EU, in line with the ambition of the new senior leadership to promote a ‘geopolitical Commission’, aims to make more strategic use of financial instruments. From 2021, the EU is combining different kinds of financing and previously separate funds to support external actions that strengthen EU resilience and strategic autonomy across key technologies and value chains, while also promoting sustainable development in partners. In short, in both China and in the EU the lines between developmental, commercial and strategic objectives are becoming blurred.
The Roundtable will be conducted under the Chatham House Rule.
ECDPM’s San Bilal will act as a contributor to this roundtable discussion.