Strengthening the EU-China partnership


EU-China: closer partners, growing responsibilities — COM(2006) 631 final



It lays down guidelines for an EU policy that aims to strengthen cooperation between the EU and China.

These focus on:

the transition to democracy in China,

sustainable development,

trade aspects, and

international cooperation for a deeper partnership.


Supporting political transition: the EU and China hold regular political dialogue on human rights, protection of minorities and the strengthening of the rule of law.

Promoting energy efficiency and environmental protection: As two of the main players in the global energy market, the EU and China cooperate to:

improve transparency and the regulatory environment of the energy sector,

exchange techniques and information on resource efficiency and renewable energies,

favour investment and opening up of public contracts, and

promote the application of international standards.

An example of cooperation in this field is the 2012 EU-China Joint Declaration on Energy Security.

Balancing economic and social development: the EU and China cooperate to define and implement balanced monetary and fiscal policies aimed at tackling problems such as poor work standards, health and ageing populations.

Improving trade and economic relations: since the EU is China’s largest trading partner and China is the EU’s second-largest, both partners seek to:

promote the opening up of the Chinese market to investments and exports,

define fair trade rules (especially regarding intellectual property rights and decent work standards), and

resolve trade disputes through dialogue or through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system.

Strengthening sectoral cooperation: the EU and China seek to strengthen bilateral cooperation in:

science and technology,


cultural exchanges, and


Encouraging security and international cooperation: dialogue between the EU and China on peace and security in regions in the world (particularly in east Asia). The EU also supports dialogue between China and other countries in the region in order to promote its stability. Cooperation between the partners also concerns transparency of military expenditure, nuclear non-proliferation and the progressive lifting of the European arms embargo.

EU and Chinese delegations meet annually at the EU-China summit, which alternates between Brussels and Beijing. At the 2013 summit, the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation was agreed on. This is now the guiding document of the relationship.


Diplomatic ties between the EU and China were first established in 1975, with the first legal format being established under the 1985 trade and cooperation agreement. Since then, the relationship has grown to embrace foreign affairs, security matters and other challenges such as climate change and global economic governance.

EU relations with China


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – EU-China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities (COM(2006) 631 final of 24.10.2006)

last update 20.10.2015