Viorel Insticioala-Budura (Coordinating Director, Asia European External Action Service)

17.09.2011 - Interview conducted by Jason Dudhee

Q1. Can the EU overcome its issues of decision making in order to form a collective China policy, especially since each state looks to protect its bilateral relations with China?

There is room for both European foreign policies with China plus individual states to maintain bilateral relations. For instance Germany is a federal country and on different China-related issues there have been different level actors, national government, state actors or both.

Q2. Due to the vast differences in China and Europe will a suitable level of understanding ever be reached?

We have to engage in dialogue all the time and tackle relevant issues. It depends on the challenges that the world will face. Many new challenges dictate that no individual states/regions can act alone. We must concentrate on issues that are relevant to both sides. For instance Global warming was a global issue year 10 years ago it was not put onto the world stage.

Q3. Regarding Human Rights should EU pursue this issue with China or would it be hypocritical?

Even though we are not perfect you need to have ideals and values and stand by them. In Europe we have reached a level were we could discuss these issues domestically. Furthermore the level of trust between Europe and China is high enough that we are able to discuss these issues.

Q4. Considering the current Economic crisis has China’s involvement in bailing out some states effected future EU-China relations?

All EU states are in favour of the international markets and global economy. Thus we are interested in China diversifying its investments and holdings of euro as foreign currency reserves. This is good and normal business. At the moment there is far more investment of E.U members in Europe as a result Chinese investment is welcome. Of course there are some sensitive areas were foreign investment is not welcome such as security, transport, communications etc and this is also vice versa.