Sanctions are the standard response to human rights violations such as the repression of the Uyghurs by the Chinese state. Unfortunately, these penalties rarely work. European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has shown how this should be done. He wants to force companies doing business in China to respect human rights.
For example, they could be forced not to work with suppliers who employ forced Uyghur workers. The investment agreement concluded with China at the end of last year already contained such a clause. This agreement imposed better market access for European companies and ended the practice of forced technology transfers if European companies wanted to start joint ventures in China.
In contrast, China has gained insight into a trade pact necessary to become the world’s largest economy by 2028. But the issue with the Uyghurs puts both the investment pact and the trade pact at risk. This strikes hard at Secretary-General Xi Jinping and gives hope for change.
Shi has been overdoing his hand for over a year now. Take advantage of the Corona crisis to take advantage of the supposed divisions of Europe. Repression increased not only in Xinjiang, but also in Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong. New steps have been taken to annex the South China Sea. There has been an endless stream of propaganda and false news from China about the origin of the Coronavirus. Xi waged war on the border with India and went on a search for a deal for pharmaceutical companies in Europe.
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This assertion is one of the reasons why Belt and Road Initiative The New Silk Road (BRI) faces growing opposition. The European Union can no longer be run over. Chinese investment is being examined for its impact on national security and the language is getting harder. Countries are starting to see infrastructure investment, high-tech companies and port control buying political leverage.
Brussels turns economic power into a governing power
Central and Eastern Europe are mountains of promised gold. Few projects have actually taken off. The disappointment, with the possible exception of countries like Serbia and Hungary, is so great that Lithuania decided to turn its back on China by leaving 17 European countries’ talks with China.
In a leaked note, a think tank from China’s Ministry of State Security found that the deteriorating relationship could force the Americans and Europeans to cooperate, thus eliminating all the achievements of the Belt and Road Initiative. Joint sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in response to the Chinese crackdown on the Uyghurs confirm that these concerns are justified.
Also read the Caroline de Gruyter column: Europe washed China’s ears with Zoom and that should have been breaking news
In addition, Xi is at risk of European domination. China will only be able to access the internal market if it complies with the rules, which now have a global impact. The European Union sets rules around the world for online privacy, competition, competition and food safety. Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson share Xi’s annoyance about it.
Putin has now turned his back on the European Union. Johnson had to accept thousands of pages of rules in exchange for market access and partially lost control of Northern Ireland. US President Joe Biden shares the displeasure of Donald Trump’s predecessor that the European Commission could impose rules on US tech companies and impose massive fines on them if they fail to comply with European rules. The European Union stands in the way of these leaders’ aspirations.
This indicates that Europe has long been a great power, even if it has not said so through the recent violations of Foreign Minister Josep Borrell in Moscow and Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen in Ankara. However, the European Union functions differently from the “normal” superpower that converts economic power into a military one. Brussels turns economic power into a governing power. This organizational strength and access to the internal market are becoming increasingly important. This is also because in the battle between the great powers, military force has become an increasingly unusable tool.
Because nations use nuclear weapons to prevent each other from military adventurism, the real power lies in the states that convert economic power into bases of global influence. The only person who can do this is the European Union. Call from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Marc Rutte To increase European independence in the economic sphere Fits there.
The European Union is also undergoing a remarkable transformation from a necessary club of economic cooperation and cross-border challenges to a protector of our prosperity and our way of life against emerging great powers.
Especially after Xi, Putin, Trump and Johnson lost the battle of Europe with flying colors, more optimism about the future of European cooperation is in order. In fact, the 21st century may become the century of Europe, not the century of China. This is more likely to happen if the European Union establishes closer ties with America, Asia and South America through trade agreements. It is no longer about a percentage of economic growth or chlorine poultry, it is about enhancing geopolitical power that can also be used to export our values.
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on April 27, 2021
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 27, 2021