SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

The Future of EU-China Relations: Core values, the investment agreement, and the Biden Administration

Professor Fran├žois Godement (Institut Montaigne, Paris)

Date: 24 February 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 24 February 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Round Table


The conclusion of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement for Investment (CAI) was badly timed. China’s assertive diplomacy and abuse of rights domestically have raised concern in the EU. But China’s offer of a deal on an investment agreement proved irresistible to the EU, at least in the very short term. Technically, this agreement is just another of the many EU trade and investment treaties. But is it the case in reality? Since it will take at least a year before the agreement will be ratified, events and the advent of the Biden Administration in the USA will leave their marks. Uncertainties remain. Some within the EU will contest and perhaps seek to block it on the basis of European interests and values. Others, not least the Chinese side, may bring in the US dimension. China in particular may want to use it to get the EU to mediate between itself and the USA, or to divide the EU from the USA. The EU will have to balance the forces which will pull from multiple directions. It will need to take into account the allure of greater economic integration with China, its own defensive interests, an indispensable transatlantic coordination and demands to uphold core European values in light of egregious behaviours of the PRC. The presentation will address these issues and take into account events which may unfold between now and the Roundtable.


Professor François Godement is Senior Advisor for Asia to Institut Montaigne, Paris. He is also a non-resident senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., and an external consultant for the Policy Planning Staff of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until December 2018, he was the Director of ECFR’s Asia and China Program and a Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR. A long-time professor at France’s National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations and Sciences Po, he created Centre Asie IFRI (1985-2005), and in 2005 Asia Centre. He is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de la Rue d’Ulm (Paris), where he majored in history, and was a postgraduate student at Harvard University. He recently authored the following Institut Montaigne’s policy papers: Europe and 5G: the Huawei Case (May 2019, with Mathieu Duchâtel), Digital Privacy, How Can We Win the Battle? (December 2019), Fighting COVID-19: East Asian Responses to the Pandemic (April 2020, with Mathieu Duchâtel and Viviana Zhu), Europe’s Pushback on China (June 2020), France and Germany Together: Promoting a European China Policy (November 2020, with Gudrun Wacker) and Wins and Losses in the EU-China Investment Agreement (CAI) (January 2021). His last published book (with Abigaël Vasselier) is La Chine à nos portes - une stratégie pour l'Europe, Odile Jacob, 2018. 

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email: