31 Aug 2021

COVID-19 and Europe-China relations


A country-level approach 

Download report. 

This report, published by The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC), contains 19 chapters from European countries. Ties Dams, Frans-Paul van der Putten and Monika Sie Dhian Ho of the Clingendael Institute contributed the chapter on the Netherlands (p.43).

The Covid-19 crisis has hit at a time when debates over the need to adopt more coherent strategies towards China have been emerging across Europe. In many ways, the current crisis has become a catalyst for a number of trends that have been shaping Europe-China relations in recent years, while in other ways it has turned the tables. It has simultaneously brought Europe and China into closer cooperation, pushed them further apart, and seemingly underlined the fractures that exist within Europe on how to approach an increasingly influential China.


Netherlands: Tough questions, stronger answers in the face of Covid-19 and a more audacious China

The Covid-19 crisis shows an increasingly audacious China: eager to show leadership and no longer apprehensive to throw mud when provoked. Sino-Dutch relations has become a topic that raises fundamental questions about privacy, loyalties and strategic autonomy that are far from being answered.

It is clear that the extreme dependence of the Netherlands and other European countries on protective material (e.g. face masks) will trigger a debate on the coordination of investments in production of these materials in Europe, European strategic autonomy in this regard and European industrial policy.

Download report. 

Clingendael Institute

Clingendael is an independent think tank and a diplomatic academy, based in The Hague - City of Peace and Justice. We aim to contribute to a secure, sustainable and just world through our analyses, training and public debate. We work with partners across public and private sectors, including policymakers, members of the armed forces, diplomats, politicians and business executives.