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The International Politics of EU-China Relations$
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David Kerr and Liu Fei

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264089

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264089.001.0001

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Intergovernmentalism and China–EU Relations

Intergovernmentalism and China–EU Relations

(p.118) 6 Intergovernmentalism and China–EU Relations
The International Politics of EU-China Relations


British Academy

This chapter examines the ongoing tensions between intergovernmentalism and communitarization in European policy-making, especially its external relations. It finds that there is an important third dimension to China–Europe relations — the role of civil society, business, and scholarship — but China predominantly finds itself having to negotiate in the uncertain waters that exist between the EU institutions and the national interests of member states. This is all the more the case because not all powers contribute equally to Europe's relations with China. The ‘Big Three’ — France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany — in particular view external relations in the context of their international roles, including in relation to the USA. As a result, though movement towards a communitarized China policy will continue, China would do well to pay most attention to the continued centrality of intergovernmentalism.

Keywords:   intergovernmentalism, communitarization, civil society, USA, European relations, UK, Germany, France

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