China and the European Union held the 14th summit in Beijing on Tuesday, February 14th. Initially scheduled for October but postponed because of the sovereign debt crisis, the summit brings together the president of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy, the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The two European leaders will also be received by head of state Hu Jintao on Wednesday, February 15th .
China’s foreign exchange reserves, accumulated through exports, would amount to 3.2 trillion dollars. They could be used to finance the European sovereign debt. China has repeatedly indicated its willingness to participate in the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), then the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which must be implemented in July. Chinese companies could also take stakes in European companies. “China is concerned about” the debt crisis that “is at a crucial time,” said Monday, Feb. 13 the spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry. Chinese exporters fear that the crisis will reduce their orders from their first market. Given the concerns raised in Europe, a People’s Daily editorial ensures that Beijing has no intention to “buy Europe”.
In return for increased Chinese support, discussions on the status of market economy – that China has long claimed – could move forward. This status would offer China greater guarantees of access to EU markets for its products. This question, which appears for the first time in the joint statement, must be set “in a quick and comprehensive way,” said Herman Van Rompuy, ensuring that there was “a political will to seek solutions.”