Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power is a groundbreaking book, offering insights into European influence regarding China’s development, during a period when Europe confronts its most serious political, social, and economic crises of the post-war period. Considering Europe’s identity and its future international relevance, this book examines the extent to which Europe’s multi-layered governance structure, the normative divergence overshadowing EU–China relations and Europe’s crises continue to shape – and often limit – Europe’s capacity to inspire China’s development.
Combining original research, interviews with EU and Chinese officials and academics, and practical experience of European institutional practice, Ferenczy examines EU–China relations in light of recent EU institutional reforms and the EU’s continuous efforts to shape a common external policy vision. Drawing on the assessment of Europe as a ‘normative power’ this book reflects on the notions of European identity and global influence in the context of substantial shifts in power. As Europe grapples with internal challenges, and China emerges as a global power, Ferenczy avoids the trap of dismissing Europe as facing inevitable decline on the one hand and uncritical affirmations of China’s emergence as a global power on the other. Instead, taking both a constructivist and realist approach, Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power highlights the power of ideas at the heart of European normative power, as well as the power of interest, which is thoroughly relevant to China’s global aspirations. While a fragile and fragmented Europe has become more vulnerable to Chinese influence, China’s motivations to maximize national interests cannot be dissociated from the social element of its interaction with Europe and its power of example, where norms matter.