NEW DELHI: The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is a “major win for General Secretary Xi Jinping and really bad news for anyone who strives for more value-led European common foreign and security policy,” says Academic and Author Andreas Fulda. The deal pushed through on December 30, 2020 after seven years of negotiation “by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shows they don’t seem to mind further economic entanglement between the EU and China and only plays into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” he added. The Associate Professor at the Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham, characterised senior European leaders as being “tone deaf”, sarcastically saying “one doesn’t need a PhD in economics to know it’s not a great idea to double down on European investment in China and Chinese investment in Europe.” The problem, he pointed out, is “European companies afraid of losing access to China’s markets” adding “it’s absolutely unacceptable they’re formulating foreign policy, the remit of governments of sovereign states”. While “the German government has effectively outsourced China policy to the private sector for twenty years,” Dr Fulda also pointed to Swedish newspaper ‘Dagens Nyheter’ reporting that Ericsson’s Chief Executive Officer Borje Ekholm pressured the trade minister to reverse a ban on including Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. in the country’s 5G roll-out.
The author of ‘The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong’ reiterated his ‘holistic and comprehensive policy” advice of ‘constrainment’ for an aggressive and assertive China which is based on incentives for good behaviour, deterrence of bad behaviour and Magnitsky sanctions against senior CCP leaders when deterrence fails.” In this interview with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi, Dr Fulda described “a lot of European politicians and bureaucrats as not being conflict-capable, not willing to draw a red line in the sand.” The CCP, he pointed out, is “not afraid of conflict and is perfectly able to inflict economic pain on partners, if it needs to”. He concluded by reiterating the case for “conditional, partial China disengagement” because following a “policy that hasn’t worked in the past is a recipe for disaster.”