A cross-party alliance of legislators from eight parliaments was today announced to push for stronger European and international cooperation on policy towards China. From the European Parliament Miriam Lexmann, MEP (EPP) and Reinhard Bütikofer, MEP, (Greens/EFA) will join with two representatives from each of the other parliaments to co-chair the new organisation, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC).
The European Union has long invested into the cooperation with China in order to contribute to modernising the country and to fostering its role as a responsible stakeholder internationally. We still hope for China to find its role as a fair partner in the necessary multilateral efforts to address common global challenges. However, China today, is a systemic rival to our democracies, and represents a geopolitical challenge for us, that we cannot afford to ignore.
Miriam Lexmann stated that, “to deal with the risks emanating from China´s authoritarian and assertive policies, EU leaders and policy makers must realise that our values do not hinder our policies – but policies that ignore our values do.” According to Miriam Lexmann, “if the EU wants to have credibility at home and abroad, we must ensure a consistent value-based foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China.” Reinhard Bütikofer pledged that the body would “defend common values, in particular universal human rights, and seek to uphold and improve the international rules based order, for instance by connecting trade policy and human rights defense. It is high time we all contribute more to an international cooperation of democratic actors”.
Countries represented, within the group, include:
● Australia — co-chaired by Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Andrew Hastie MP (Lib), and, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, Senator Kimberly Kitching (Lab).
● Canada — co-chaired by Garnett Genuis (Con), member of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, and Hon. Irwin Cotler, former Liberal Attorney-General and renowned human rights campaigner.
● The European Parliament — co-chaired by Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (Green), Chair of Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China and Miriam Lexmann MEP (EPP), member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
● Germany – co-chaired by Margarete Bause MdB (Green) party spokesperson on human rights, and Michael Brand MdB (CDU) chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid.
● Japan — co-chaired by Rep. Shiori Yamao (Ind), Diet member for the Aichi 7th district, and Rep. Gen Nakatani (LDP), Diet member and former Defence Minister.
● Sweden — co-chaired by Fredrik Malm MP (LPP), Riksdagsledamot and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Elisabet Lann, the well-known human rights activist and member, Göteborgs Stad.
● United Kingdom — co-chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy, the Labour peer and acclaimed human rights barrister, and Iain Duncan-Smith, former leader of the Conservative Party.
● The United States of America — co-chaired by Senator Marco Rubio, former Presidential candidate and Acting Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Robert Menendez, ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
The body will invite further members from diverse political backgrounds in the coming days. The group aims to propose policy in several areas: Investing into multilateralism and a rules based international order; Upholding human rights; Promoting sustainability and economic fairness; Strengthening security and peaceful conflict resolution; Protecting national self-determination.
Photo: European Parliament.