The 19th Summit between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China held on Friday (2 June) in Brussels has moved the mutual relations between both sides to a new level by providing fresh impetus to a partnership that has a global impact. During the summit, both sides signed a number of agreements in a range of areas, including business, investment, global challenges, connectivity, energy cooperation, energy, agriculture, research and innovation as well as climate action.
The environmental agenda attracted a lot of attention after US President Trump had announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. EU and Chinese leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the accord and stressed the importance of fostering cooperation in their energy policies. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stressed that “as far as the European side is concerned, we were happy to see that China is agreeing to our unhappiness about the American climate decision. This is helpful, this is responsible, and this is about inviting both, China and the European Union, to proceed with the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
On energy cooperation, both sides signed a work plan for 2017-2018 that commits both partners to tackling common energy and climate challenges including security of energy supply, energy infrastructure and market transparency. The plan provides the foundations for sharing best practices with regards to energy regulation, demand and supply analysis, energy crisis, and nuclear safety, as well as grid design and the integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid. Moreover, the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, and China’s Silk Road Fund (SRF) committed to jointly invest in private equity and venture capital funds that will, in turn, invest in small and medium-sized companies mostly operating in the EU. The total expected commitment amounts to €500 million.