Ahead of next week’s EU-China summit, Helmut Scholz MEP has criticised the Commission and Council on their shifting attitudes to relations with China.

Speaking in this week’s European Parliament debate on EU-China trade relations with representatives of the Commission and Council, Scholz said: “The new strategy from the Commission conceives of China as a ‘systematic rival’ – this is a term from the Cold War era.”

“China is not a threat and it is not our opponent. Colonialism and imperialism were not brought into the world by China. Europe and the United States must learn to no longer see themselves as undisputed masters of the world who can look down on China and the rest of the world. We need partnership at eye level. This does not exclude competition. But we have to define the rules together. The time of dictation is over.”

Scholz challenged European decision-makers to accept China’s slow pace in opening its markets in order to enable development by protecting people in vulnerable sectors: “China has completely changed its economic system in recent decades. In this process, people were not starving to death. To the contrary, 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty. China’s recipe for this is inclusive growth. This requires the opening of the market to be done step by step. I mean, do we in Europe have better proposals to offer for the economic transition of 1.3 billion people?”

“The upcoming summit is a chance to join forces with China to strengthen the global economy, to prevent climate change, to cope with technology leaps and their consequences, and to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There are only 11 years left until 2030,” she added.

Scholz addressed the Commission and Council representatives: “I urge you not to instigate anti-China hysteria in the upcoming election campaign. We must not let ourselves be manipulated and made to dance to the tune of Donald Trump and his confrontational politics.”