European Council conclusions on external relations, 1 October 2020
2020-10-06 10:52:14
1.The European Council welcomes the oral report on the EU Leaders’ meeting with President Xi Jinping on 14 September as well as the signing of the agreement on Geographical Indications. It stresses the need to rebalance the economic relationship and achieve reciprocity. It recalls the goal of finalising, by the end of this year, negotiations for an ambitious EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) that addresses the current asymmetries in market access, contributes to a level playing field, and establishes meaningful commitments on sustainable development. It also calls on China to deliver on previous commitments to address market access barriers, to make progress on overcapacity and engage in negotiations on industrial subsidies at the World Trade Organization.

2. The European Council encourages China to assume greater responsibility in dealing with global challenges. This includes, in particular, taking more ambitious action on climate in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and on biodiversity, and supporting multilateral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, notably as regards treatments and vaccines, the independent review of the international health response, and debt relief as a necessary condition for recovery from the pandemic, particularly in Africa. The European Council welcomes, as an important step in the right direction, the statement of President Xi Jinping, following the Leadersʼ video conference, that China will aim to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

3. The European Council underlines its serious concerns about the human rights situation in China, including developments in Hong Kong and the treatment of people belonging to minorities, as expressed at the EU-China summit in June and the Leaders’ meeting held on 14 September.

4. The European Council reaffirms the policy approach towards EU-China relations as set out in the Joint Communication of the Commission and the High Representative ʻEU-China: A Strategic Outlookʼ of March 2019 and calls for further coherent efforts to implement it. It invites the Commission and the High Representative to present a progress report by March 2021. It looks forward to a meeting of all its members with President Xi Jinping in 2021.