From the Document: "The European Union (EU) 'Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific', published in September 2021, outlines an agenda to expand economic, security, and political partnerships in a region that is rapidly becoming 'a key player in shaping the international order.' The 27-member EU's increasing attention to the Indo-Pacific unfolds in the context of transatlantic discussions about the direction of relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC, or China) and the implications of U.S.-China tensions for Europe. Many Members of Congress have expressed concerns about China's influence in Europe and the EU, as well as interest in policy options for greater U.S.-EU cooperation regarding China. In recent years, EU views on China appear to have hardened and now mirror more closely U.S. concerns about China's global influence. In a 2019 position paper, the European Commission (the EU's executive body) described China as 'simultaneously ... a cooperation partner with whom the EU has closely aligned objectives, a negotiating partner with whom the EU needs to find a balance of interests, an economic competitor in the pursuit of technological leadership, and a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance.' [...] Notwithstanding initial suggestions that China's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) 'facemask diplomacy' and 'vaccine diplomacy' could build goodwill, many analysts assess that the pandemic and other recent developments have further strained EU-China relations. An exchange of sanctions in March 2021 stemming from EU concerns about human rights in China reflected what some observers have described as a low point in relations."
CRS In Focus, IF10252
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/