Former EU trade chief Pascal Lamy and fellow experts delivered a dovish report on Brussels’ relations with Beijing to French President Emmanuel Macron, at this week’s 25th anniversary celebration of the Institut Jacques Delors, of which Lamy is now president emeritus. 

French Council presidency’s killer slogan: At the same event, Macron officially announced the French Council presidency’s slogan — “relance, puissance, appartenance” (Playbook Paris had it back in March). That roughly translates to “recovery, strength, belonging.” Interesting …

Back to the study: The 156-page report, authored by Lamy and a slew of other top European experts and diplomats, covers multiple facets of EU-China relations from the perspective of “realist” cooperation, rather than confrontation.

(Economic) realism: “China’s middle class is expected to reach 800 million people by 2030. Our approach should therefore be realistic and informed by Europe’s economic interests,” the authors say, adding that Brussels should get a move on signing the EU-China investment agreement that’s been frozen due to MEP opposition. 

Anti-sanctions: “This impasse also raises the question of the relevance of sanctions taken in the name of the defense of human rights, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated, which are economically counterproductive and tend to exacerbate the populations’ nationalism,” the paper says.

Keep human rights away from trade: “The EU can defend human rights, which the United Nations recognizes as universal. But should they systematically be linked to questions of investments or trade, thus risking paralyzing relations — which could, in turn, be inefficient?” the authors muse.

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