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The Problem of Correlation between Economic and Strategic Interests in EU's Policy towards China

Student: Anna Motyl

Supervisor: Timofey Bordachev

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: International Relations (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

In recent years, together with the strengthening of China and the intensification of European-Chinese relations, European foreign policy has faced the problem of correlation between economic interests of the EU Member states and common strategic interest of the European Union. On the one hand, the economic cooperation of the EU member states with the Asian giant is extremely important for the European Union, but on the other hand, the intensification of cooperation with China inevitably leads to a divergence of interests of the EU member states in relation to China, significantly complicating the implementation of a common European policy when China became an economic and systemic competitor to the EU. The purpose of this study is to determine how the economic interests of the EU member states and the EU strategy for China are combined into the EU foreign policy towards China. With this aim in mind, the study examines the approaches and interests of seven EU member states, among which the participating countries of the “17 + 1” format, as well as Germany, France and Italy; analyzes the strategic documents of the European Union regarding China; and then, considers the problem of correlation between national interests and European strategy on the example of two cases. In order to show the current balance of interests and explain the reason for different approaches to China within the EU, the liberal intergovernmental approach was selected as a theoretical framework. Based on the results of this work, the author came to the conclusion that while the European Union is trying to build a well-balanced policy towards China, some states actively contribute to the implementation of the EU strategic line, while others, in accordance with their national interests limit the European Union diplomacy, undermining European unity.

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