The European Council brings together EU leaders to set the EU’s political agenda. It represents the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries. The European Council decides on the EU’s overall direction, and sets the Union’s political priorities.
Shaping of the Future: China-European Union Relations:
The Sino-European relations were mainly shaped by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between China and the European Union, which was established in 1985. Now, more than thirty years later, China is one of the most important trade and investment nations and recognised as one of the biggest stakeholders in Europe.
In December 2016, Brussels granted Market Economy Status to China and a new EU Association Agreement is being negotiated at the moment. However, populist movements have used the EU’s rising trade deficit with China to demonise globalisation and call for a “fortress Europe”. In addition to these voices, many others are starting to call for a decrease of trade relations with China too. Many politicians have expressed concerns about China’s overcapacity and dumping rates as cause of the increase of unemployment in EU member states. Growing trade relations with China has boosted Europe’s GDP, especially strong economies that benefit from low industrial commodity prices. On the other hand, more labour-intensive EU Member States have struggled with the hard competition with China and whole industry sectors had to shut down. This asymmetric effect of trade with China is disturbing the harmony between Member States and can lead to more structural distress within the EU.
This is the reason why it is crucial that the European Council sets out a strategy, which ensures the profitability of Sino-European trade relations and at the same time secures EU’s labour sector. Furthermore, the European Council must decide to what extend trade relations with China should spill over to cooperation in political, social and cultural aspects.
60 Years of Rome: The Future of the European Union:
In March 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed, marking the starting point of a race that today stands at crossroads. 60 years later, the European Union faces great uncertainty. Nationalistic movements are rising throughout the world; new actors are changing way we regard international governance and politics; and the Union has lost one of its members.
Now more than ever, it is vital to create a clear strategy so that the Union does not lose its way and stands strong as an international actor and a beacon of cooperation and development through understanding each other. The White Paper on the Future of the EU defines the main drivers of Europe’s future and the challenges ahead. It also describes a set of possible scenarios that the Union may face depending on the decisions and resolutions that the Member States take.
It is up to the Representatives at the European Council to establish a general policy regarding these main drivers in order to mark the path toward the best future possible for the EU and its members. Four main pillars will focus most of the attention during future meetings and discussions: Single Market and Trade, Economic and Monetary Union and its social dimension, Security and Borders, and Defense and foreign policy.
The reality of the future of the EU is complex and uncertain. It is important that the debate and exchange of ideas continue so that the goals set from the beginning of this journey do not fall into oblivion. Join the European Council at BerlInMUN 2017 and help decide the path that the EU should follow in light of the current reality of Europe and the world!
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Denmark Finland France
Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Lithuania Luxembourg Netherlands Poland Portugal Slovenia Spain Sweden President of the Commission
The European Council will be chaired by Alfonso José Salgado Cabrera and Franz Lentner. See the whole secretariat here.
Study Guides for BerlInMUN 2017 are available online at our Resource Centre.