February 14th, 2012
07:46 AM GMT
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(Hong Kong) – Could it be a coincidence that diplomats chose to schedule an annual meeting of Chinese and EU leaders on Valentine’s Day?

On Tuesday, two of the EU’s biggest hitters, Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, before separate meetings with President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.

It’s unlikely they’ll be carrying flowers and chocolates in an effort to warm the hearts of their hosts, but the sentiment will be there nonetheless.

The European Union needs a financial lifeline and China has the reserves to throw it.

On the eve of the talks, Herman Van Rompuy was asked by China Daily whether China could “save” the euro area from its sovereign debt crisis.

His coy response was “of course, we appreciate the confidence China has always demonstrated towards Europe and the euro.”

He added: “The euro is the world's second reserve currency and therefore, there is no doubt that the stability of the euro area is important for the world economy.” End of answer.

According to figures released by Eurostat on the eve of the meeting, China was the EU’s second biggest trading partner after the U.S in the first 10 months of 2011.

Exports from the EU’s 27 member states to China grew 21% over the period to 112 billion euros while imports rose just 5%. Combined, the two worked to push the trade deficit between Europe and China down to 132 billion euros.

Europe needs China’s business, just as China needs Europe to be solvent enough to push through orders to its factory floors.

Just last week, the International Monetary Fund warned that China’s growth could halve this year if the eurozone debt crisis tipped the global economy into recession.

“The risks to China from Europe are both large and tangible,” it said, warning that a recession could cut China's anticipated growth in 2012 from 8.2% to 4.2%.

Combined, Europe and China represent a staggering 1.8 billion people.

The countries leaders plan to launch a new brand at Tuesday’s talks called “High Level People to People Dialogue.”

Van Rompuy says it is aimed at “improving the interaction between our citizens.”

Those 1.8 billion citizens will be hoping their leaders interact enough to ensure their financial future is improved as well.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. me

    China may be the EU's 2nd biggest trade partner, but the EU is China's biggest trade partner. (USA's is Canada)

    February 14, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  2. Carl van Zijll de Jong

    Whatever... Can’t we see; it is all gain for the few on the expense of the masses. However, there will come a time that the reverse will be pursued. Then everyone will be set for the choice either to care for one’s neighbour, or to be concerned for one’s own wellbeing only. Either see one’s life perpetuating for eternity, or flushes out all together when the energy clock of this solar system runs out. The choice is either to adhere to “The World Monetary Order”, or stay with the present system.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  3. Brian

    I'm from Europe and i can only be ashamed of the fact that we need other countries to bail us out. It's like we are childeren and we call on our parents to bail us out. How can the Chinese ever respect us if we need an allowance from them.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  4. FreeTrader

    China has the 2nd largest GNP in the world. But average China is still a poor person consider the GNP per capita of beyond 90th. So Chinese is modest, although nationalist when harassed by foreigners unreasonably.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  5. John

    Brian from Europe: you Europeans are all like little children anyway – you get your allowance from your welfare governments like the daddy's boy that you are. Good luck in 2013!

    February 14, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  6. NJyam

    Is the "love affairs" supposed to be a good news or just some financial affairs sparkled by the Euro crisis?

    February 14, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  7. Anya

    Sadly, the EU will lower it morals and become dependent on a nation whose economy is based on slavery rather than fix itself.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  8. Tired of Moronicans

    John not from Europe: Your comment, as a typical Moronican, only shows your ignorance. What do you know about Europe? You are talking about what country? Go listen Fox News, since it seems it's from there you get your "inteligent" opinion.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  9. Darketernal

    Scandalous, there's no love at all not from Europe nor from China, Europe just wants China's money, me being from Europe i would fire everyone from every political party everywhere if i could. Holding up your hands like a beggar to China (please give me money) What on earth is Europe thinking? Change our Casino monetary pyramid game system into a decent system and learn how to stand on your own feet, i can shout scandal all day long but nothing will change, the politicians won't change because they are under control of the banks. And the banks will continue their pyramid game until WW3 breaks out, once that is over they will start it all over again without having learned anything. Seriously this non-sense has to stop, you can't live in a fantasy world forever,reality is already knocking on Europe's door. Our virtual happy life style has come to an end. The only thing that works against this is to pay off debt, and have a strict financial system to safeguard us from the Chinese who only want to have a foothold in Europe for their own benefit. If they take over, we'll be even further removed from home, we'll just get pushed out like the poor people in Tibet.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  10. joe

    John who im presuming is from the United States, Yes Europe is based on a welfare state but we pay high taxes for for those Benefits. Unlike the US we are provided with a proper healthcare system, a well educated workforce and when the poor in our society need a helping hand our governments provide them with that. We don't look for hand outs from our governments as i said we pay HIGH taxes for those benefits. And before you say the European financial crises was caused because of our welfare programs, no it was not. It was caused because of corporate greed. Im from Ireland and we did not get into this mess because of our so-called welfare state, we got into it because of our banks and lack of regulation. We have a banking crises not a welfare crises. Most of the money that we owe is from bailing out defunct banks.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  11. maryam

    See the elephant is dying and die a very sad situation

    February 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  12. desert voice

    I see no obstacle in beter economic relations between China and the World, not just Europe. China needs badly the World! The reason is simple: they have built an exports-dependent economy, so that they can feed its vast population. In general, the average Chinese is too poor to buy the products destined for the World. With economy like that, China needs good relations with every buyer nation! This is why China has committed a huge mistake protecting the interest of Russia in Syria. This has rubbed the wrong way her chief importer, the U.S. A monumental mistake that China will regret for years to come!

    March 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

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