Reading the new "European Commission contribution to the European Council" on EU-China – A strategic outlook I can only say: Very well done, all you panda huggers in the EU Commission!
"A strategic outlook"...Wait, what is strategy? There are numerous definitions and I don't talk about war and Carl von Clausewitz or Liddell Hart. But even Wikipedia is able to explain - citing a book of Lawrence Freedman - that "Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to
achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means
(resources). Strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of
activity as the organization adapts to its environment or competes." And - citing Mintzberg and Quinn - "it involves activities such as strategic planning and strategic thinking."
When I read this EU paper I hardly see any strategic planning or strategic thinking, but a lot of words, which seems to be written here.
Example: I found the word "influence" exactly once in this paper:
"In the last decade, China's economic power and political influence have grown with unprecedented scale and speed, reflecting its ambitions to become a leading global power."
Really? Nothing more? It seems that the EU commissioner Johannes Hahn, who is responsible for the negotiating with countries who want to join the EU, is one of the targets in Brussels for China and so his opinion is effectively nearly erased in the debate and especially in this "strategic outlook": Didn't he say that the EU is underestimating China and - regarding the same article in the Financial Times - that "he was concerned that some countries were borrowing heavily from China
to pay for infrastructure and raising the risk of long-term damage to
their fragile economies."? Some more words from this article: "Mr Hahn said China was benefiting from aspects of the EU’s transparent and rules-based economy but “not providing and guaranteeing the same in China for European or even foreign companies,” he said, adding: “This is something which is no longer acceptable.”" Johannes: Watch your phone and laptop! 😎😎😎😎
There is not one word about this problem in the EU paper - for good reasons: Visiting these days conferences or "discussions" (how to discuss open and relaxed under the banner of the local Confucius Institute?) in Brussels on EU-China relations or on China subjects in general you not only see a massive presence of Chinese officials and semi-officials ("I am a journalist" - "I work for a Think Tank" etc.), blocking discussions or sometimes interrupting in an inappropriate way the questioner.
The good news for Chinese intelligence and planning groups (e.g. MSS Bureau Nr. 10 and a lot more...): There are so many Europeans in the audience now - I can only call them agents of influence or even worse! - who introduce themself e.g. as somebody working in an official EU function, to explain afterwards, that "here I give only my private view". I observed some of them again and again at different locations, different events - but always commenting in a superpro China way. And yes: It seems to be absurd, but after the meeting, at the wine bar, you see them laughing and shaking hands with the Chinese officials.
Needless to mention that you cannot find "intelligence" (except Artificial Intelligence) or "espionage" in this paper. Only one very tentative "intellectual property"... and not even the word "problem"! So everything is fine and there is no problem with Chinese influence operations in Brussels, a massive presence of their intelligence, their sometimes aggressive stance on persons and organisations who dare to talk in public on Human Rights in China, Taiwan, Uigurs etc.?!
I wonder who was finally responsible for this document and what was the deal for publishing something like this!? Who is Geraldine and is she an author? Or just the printing office girl?
More interesting is the manipulation timerange:
Coming back to strategy, ressources and executing action: Europe definitely needs more intelligence on China and operations against them - not only in Brussels! And it needs more action when it comes to identifying those moles, who are willing to take Beijing's position, because they hope one day they can be top banana of OBOR.