Energy Programme Asia Series

The Globalization of Energy: China and the European Union

Mehdi AminehYang Guang

Since the conclusion of the 1985 trade and cooperation agreement between the European Community and China, a new political dynamic has been set in motion between two emerging entities: industrializing China and integrating Europe. It is reflected in, among others, European Commission policy strategy papers and, probably more importantly, numerous sectoral dialogues and agreements. Europe has become China's largest export destination. For the E.U., China has become its second largest trading partner and its most important source of imports.

The book 'Globalization of Energy China and the European Union' studies the fueling of the Eurasian production and trading system. Cooperation on the basis of complementarity is rather easy, the authors argue, but cooperation in the competition for access to, and share in, non-renewable energy stocks of oil and gas is more challenging.

As fossil energy remains key to the accumulation of wealth and power of states, but become increasingly scarce, it is not surprising to find that energy security challenges are topping the policy agenda of the European Union (EU) and China. In response, policy makers of both energy consuming economies continue to look for new possibilities. These not only include the diversification of source and origin to encourage supply security, but also support for substitutes for fossil energy and improving efficiency in energy use. In this endeavor, the urgency of geopolitical concerns seems to catch more attention than long-term plans for the transition to renewable energy systems. Consequently, the perception that the EU and China might be competitors in the geopolitical arena for access to foreign resources seems to overshadow their common interest in developing renewable energy and sharing efficiency-improving technology. However, such a view neglects that, at the same time, the EU and China are well positioned to cooperate to ensure global oil supply and compete peacefully at the same time in the development of high-end renewable technologies.

Joint research programme

This project is the result of a joint research programme between the Energy Programme Asia (EPA) of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden-The Netherlands and the Institute of West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS), in cooperation with the Institute of Industrial Economy (IIE) and the Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies (IREECAS) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing-China.

This book has the objective to contribute to the international debate between Europe and China on cooperation, with a focus on economy, trade and energy.

The editors are dr. Mehdi Parvizi Amineh (University of Amsterdam) and Yang Guang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).
Contributors are Mehdi Parvizi Amineh, Yang Guang, Robert M. Cutler, Chen Mo, Eva Patricia Rakel, Daniel Scholten, Philip Sen, Raquel Shaoul, Frank Umbach, Eduard B. Vermeer, and Shi Dan.