How Can European Values Be Protected in a Multipolar World?

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May 17, 2019
by Martin Silva Rey
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How Can European Values Be Protected in a Multipolar World?

Latest Salzburg Global Lecture will include Lord Patten discussing the future of Europe and the rise of China The Palliser Lecture honors the Rt Hon. Sir Michael Palliser GCMG PC, who served as a senior British diplomat and was the vice chairman of the Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors

International relations theorist G. John Ikenberry said, "The rise of China will undoubtedly be one of the great dramas of the twenty-first century. China's extraordinary economic growth and active diplomacy are already transforming East Asia, and future decades will see even greater increases in Chinese power and influence. But exactly how this drama will play out is an open question. Will China overthrow the existing order or become a part of it?"

The world's most populous country and the fourth largest is gaining influence much beyond its continent. The Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR) entails a massive flow of foreign direct investment of Chinese capital in 152 countries, where that country is sponsoring infrastructure development to set up the "Silk Road Economic Belt."

Since 2012, the 16+1 mechanism has brought together 16 Central and East European states and China for annual meetings between the heads of state and cooperation.

Earlier this year, a joint communication by the European Commission was published on "EU-China – A strategic outlook," where China was labeled a "systemic rival." In response to China's growing economic power and political influence, the report indicated the European Union should "deepen its engagement with China to promote common interests at global level… seek more balanced and reciprocal conditions governing the economic relationship… [and] adapt to changing economic realities and strengthen its own domestic policies and industrial base."

The communication states the EU and China are "linked by an enduring relationship," but questions remain open for debate. How should Europe position itself in a multipolar world where the support of historic allies can no longer be taken for granted? Can a Britain in the throes of Brexit still contribute to a European response to China's rise? Must it or can it carve out an independent role for itself?

These are some of the questions to be debated during this year's Palliser Lecture, organized by Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with 21st Century Trust.

The event will convene two major experts in Europe-China relations:

  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Chris Patten of Barnes CH, the last Governor of Hong Kong and former European Commissioner
  • Rana Mitter FBA, historian and political scientist, and Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University

The Aga Khan Foundation UK will kindly host the fourth edition of The Palliser Lecture. The event will take place on May 21, 2019, at 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN. The reception will begin at 17:30, and the discussion between Patten and Mitter will take place from 18:30.

John Lotherington, director of 21st Century Trust, said, "This event couldn’t be more timely with developments in the trade war between the United States and China, the controversy around Huawei, and political strife in Hong Kong. But it is also about the slower underlying changes as Europe reacts to the expansion of Chinese power and reach."

The Palliser Lecture honors the Rt Hon. Sir Michael Palliser GCMG PC, who served as a senior British diplomat and was the vice chairman of the Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors. It is part of the Salzburg Global Lecture Series.