Improvement of Sino-Greek relations not a unique case in Europe

euchinaA strong tendency of powerful European countries to strengthen their cooperation with China has been apparent in recent weeks. Initially, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Britain where he had a meeting with Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron. Then, it was the turn of Dutch King Willem- Alexander to visit China and meet President Xi. Finally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande made an official visit to the country, although their agenda was rather different. The first sought to further promote bilateral economic and business affairs while the second aimed at gaining Beijing’s support  ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris.

The importance of the afore-mentioned meetings is highly political. It is straightforward that – despite the effort of the European Union to to coordinate its diplomacy via the European External Action Service (EEAS) – several member states endeavour to benefit as much as possible by strengthening their bilateral ties with China. This is a fair political decision should their choices are aligned with general principles of European foreign policy.

As far as Greek foreign policy towards China is concerned, it is certainly placed within this European context. The country is not the only one in the European Union which invests in bilateral cooperation with China. This said, Greece should not be treated as an isolated or special case when Sino-European relations are analysed and assessed. The strategy of Athens vis-à-vis Beijing is a quite common practice at European level.