ReConnect China Policy Brief 10: Rethinking China’s COVID-19 Aid Diplomacy in Europe

This policy brief re-examines China’s COVID-19 aid diplomacy in Europe during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, focusing on the scope of donation and associated disinformation. China’s aid diplomacy in Europe was widely seen as an attempt to demonstrate China’s global pandemic response capacity while obscuring the CCP’s early missteps during the outbreak. This brief uses a novel dataset to provide fresh insights and important distinctions into the underlying motivations behind China’s aid efforts. Along the EU’s strategic autonomy agenda, this brief provides key policy recommendations to improve the EU’s pandemic preparedness, and to upgrade its role in shaping global health governance by urging the EU to secure a pandemic treaty and diversifying supply chains to move beyond the current globalism-statism divide.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Strengthen the EU’s capacity to manage global health risks through more active cooperation with non-EU partners via the EU’s Global Health Strategy and Global Gateway.
  • Develop a more comprehensive EU-wide strategy to counter disinformation narratives amplified by the CCP’s growing media apparatus,  by investing more in the EU’s media literacy.
  • Bolster the pandemic preparedness and resilience of the EU’s emergency response capabilities by diversifying and upgrading supply chains.

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