Articles - Security Science Journal
China-EU Two-Level Cooperation And Challenges On Public Health During The COVID-19
(No. 2, 2021. Security Science Journal)
13 Dec 2021 06:59:00 PM
Prof. dr Song Lilei 
School of Political Science and International Relations, 
Tongji University in Shanghai 

Bian Sai
School of Political Science and International Relations, 

Tongji University.


Research Paper
Received: October 7, 2021
Accepted: December 10, 2021

Abstract: International public health cooperation has always been one of the typical issues of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic ties in the international community. As two important actors in the international community, China and the EU have worked on many transnational public health cooperation projects. The two-level division of the EU's foreign policy competence decided the Cooperation and Challenges on Public Health between China-EU. Cooperation with the EU member states is expanding, the cooperation with the level of the EU started to show up. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, both China and the EU have publicly expressed their support for WHO's anti-pandemic measures. China has actively provided public health aid to Central and Eastern European countries and shared the Anti-COVID-19 experience. In this article, the author reviewed the progress and mechanism of China-EU public health cooperation, discussed how China and the EU have jointly dealt with the pandemic by sharing experience, providing aids, strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation, and building a community with a healthy future for humankind since the outbreak of COVID-19. Facing the COVID-19, China-EU health cooperation should be further strengthened to show the importance of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Keywords: China-EU Relations, Public Health Cooperation, COVID-19, Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

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As a growing issue in China-EU relations, public health has gradually become a significant issue of China-EU cooperation. As health crises become increasingly apparent, public health security has become an important area of health governance and promoting health diplomacy in the countries, regions, and world. As the most typical participants in the transnational cooperation mechanism of global health diplomacy, the EU and China have worked on many international health cooperation projects in the field of public health. China-EU two-level health cooperation refers to the exchange of personnel between government departments, researchers, health institutions, enterprises, and other departments, to solve the current health problems and support the future research cooperation between China and Europe. This paper reviews the process and mechanism of health cooperation between China and Europe. The two-level division of the EU's foreign policy competence decided the Cooperation and Challenges on Public Health between China-EU. Cooperation with the EU member states is expanding, the cooperation with the level of the EU started to show up. This article analysis that China's two-level engagement with the EU and its member states show different approaches on public health discusses how China and Europe have responded to the Covid-19 by sharing experiences, providing assistance, strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation since the outbreak, and building a community of human health. In conclusion, it looks forward to the challenges such as politicization of health issues faced by China-EU multi-bilateral cooperation in the health field.

Progress of China-EU Two-level Cooperation on Public Health

As major participants in global health governance, China and the EU have played an essential role in multilateral cooperation. On Friday, May 12, 1972, the 25th World Health Assembly passed a resolution to restore China's legal status in the World Health Organization. [①] Since then, China has participated in every WHO's World Health Assembly and regional committee meeting as a member country, and has been elected as a member of the executive committee many times. In October 1978, the "Memorandum of Technical Cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the World Health Organization" was signed in Beijing, a milestone in China's initiation of multilateral health cooperation. In the first health strategy agreed by the European Union in 2007, the European Commission called for strengthening the EU's voice in global health, with the establishment and development of the WHO Regional Office for Europe as the evidence. The most typical case of China-EU health cooperation in the WHO is the cooperation on Poliovirus, commonly known as polio. With the advice and support of the WHO, the European Union has cooperated with the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China. It conducted two polio immunization campaigns targeting 3.8 million Chinese children under 15 years old. This immunization campaign had a positive impact. [②] Through WHO is research, vaccination activities, and setting up a mid-term plan, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Western Pacific has maintained close contact with China, conducted a risk assessment, implemented monitoring, and launched publicity activities. These measures have effectively controlled the spread and development of the pandemic.
At the bilateral level, since China and the EU established a bilateral diplomatic relationship in 1975, economy and trade, instead of health affairs, had remained the foremost concern for the two sides in China-EU relations in the early years. The EC and China signed the "Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation" in 1985 to guide their relationship. In documents regulating China-EU commercial and economic relations for decades, health was not even mentioned until in 1995 the EU released its first policy paper on China—"A Long-term Policy for China-Europe Relations" [③]. In 1998, China and the EU established China-EU Summit and released China-EU Joint Press Communique. With the institution's help, Chinese and European leaders were able to discuss the issues they were most concerned about and the direction for future cooperation. [④]. However, health issues still went missing in the first five summits and were only listed as an exciting sector for future dialogue in their meeting in 2003. The case was also proper for the EU's second policy paper on China published in 2001, where no emphasis was given to health cooperation.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in 2003, served as a watershed of China-EU health cooperation. In 2003, the 29th annual Summit was held in France. [⑤]At the Summit, the leaders of all countries attached unprecedented importance to health. In the joint statement released after the meeting, China and the EU recognized the importance of strengthening cooperation to combat HIV/AIDS and other newly emerging infectious diseases in the face of the pandemic. During the visit of Ms. Androulla Vassiliou, the EU Commissioner for Health, to Beijing in 2009, she met Mr. Chen Zhu, Chinese Minister of Health, and the two sides agreed to start a dialogue on health policy. At the 16th annual Summit held in 2013, China and the EU jointly adopted the "EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation", which planned their cooperation in the next seven years. In the agenda, the two sides decided to "expand dialogue and exchange in the field of health, including through cooperation with the WHO, especially in antimicrobial resistance, e-health, cancer prevention and pharmaceuticals regulatory, in order to ensure the health and safety of citizens. [⑥]

Through the China-EU mentioned above health cooperation process, we can see that in the first few years of China-EU relations, health was not a critical issue discussed and paid attention to by both sides. However, from 1994 to 2001, the European Union has provided 4.5 million euros in funding for China's AIDS prevention work. China and Europe have set up six provincial-level regional training centers to provide medical staff with technical assistance in AIDS prevention. The EU supports China's medical institutions at all levels in building their capacity to deal with AIDS.[⑦] Since then, health and hygiene have been listed as regular topics of the Summit. China and the EU have established a bilateral and multilateral dialogue for exchanges and research. In this process, the SARS outbreak in 2003 promoted cooperation between the two parties. In the 21st century, the development of globalization has sped the cross-border spread of health hazards, making health an issue requiring all countries' joint efforts. Therefore, international organizations have become ideal platforms for countries to sit together and discuss solutions to these global health problems. In this regard, China and the European Union have strengthened their cooperation with international organizations such as the WHO on the multilateral platform of the United Nations. They have taken an active part in international health decision-making through mutual trust, international cooperation, and multilateral diplomacy.

Mechanism of China-EU Two-level Cooperation on Public Health

China-EU health cooperation means that China and the EU layout policies through exchanges between government departments, researchers, health institutions, enterprises, and other departments to solve current health issues and support future China-EU research cooperation. The scope of China-EU health cooperation includes the promotion of Chinese medicine, understanding, preventing, and dealing with epidemics, the prevention, and control of chronic diseases, jointly fighting global health challenges, and discussing hot topics of common concerns from a policy and industry perspective, in order to explore solutions to global health challenges. As the most critical participants in transnational public health cooperation, apart from improving the institution and providing global public goods, the most crucial role of the EU and China lies in the mechanisms they have established to address health issues. In 2003, China specifically listed China-EU healthcare-related cooperation in its EU policy document. It was pointed out that China and the EU should strengthen cooperation in the health sector, especially in sharing experiences in the prevention and control of SARS, HIV, and other serious diseases. [⑧]
As an essential part of the EU-China Summit, the EU-China Health Summit is one of the essential parts of the bilateral meeting of leaders between the EU and China. The China-EU Health Summit aims to bring leaders together to discuss multilateral cooperation on economic and trade, climate, health, and peaceful development issues. The goals of the China-EU Health Summit are promoting international cooperation and information dissemination in the field of medical informatics on a European basis, promoting high standards of medical informatics application, promoting the research and development of medical informatics, and encouraging high-level medical informatics education. [⑨]As a unique and effective platform, China-EU Health Summit, in addition to dialogue and cooperation on aging issues and the development of medical technology in Europe and China, also maintains and develops the channels and momentum of China-EU dialogue, and provides excellent solutions for the quality of life in two countries through technological development and innovation. In addition, the Sino-European Health Networking Hub was established to set up a sustainable health network and knowledge center between Europe and China. [⑩]. Through this network center, you can have a comprehensive understanding of innovative research in health between China and Europe and learn more about the cross-border funding projects and cooperation priorities between China and Europe. In the network center, China and the EU formed a panel of experts and professionals to express their opinions in the field of China-EU health research and innovation, and through participating in interactive online activities such as roadshows for a long time, to promote China-EU transnational cooperation and keep contact between China-EU high-level leaders in a health area.

In addition, some other medical cooperation institutions are also worthy of attention. The European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) was established in Copenhagen in September 1976 by World Health Organization (WHO) 's Regional Office for Europe. As a non-profit organization, the EFMI is committed to the theory and practice of information science and technology in health and health sciences in Europe defined by the WHO. Under this organization, in 2019, China and the EU held the China-EU Health Innovation Conference in Belgium. [11]. During the conference, China and the EU shared their experiences at different themed meetings and seminars, summarized their cases implemented raised medical donations. The Chinese Medical Informatics Association (CMIA) was established in 1980. It is an academic group composed of more than 6,000 experts, scholars, technicians, and managers working in medical informatics. There are more than 20 working groups in total. China Pharmaceutical and Device Exchange Association (CPDE) was established in 1993 and is a professional non-profit organization composed of research institutes, companies, experts, and scholars in pharmaceutical and medical device technology. Under the COVID-19, China and the EU have assisted in many EU countries under the CMIA and CPDE platforms, such as cooperation between China and Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries on ventilators, masks, and medical equipment for testing. [12] 

At the national level, China has also signed cooperation agreements in the health field with several EU member states, created a health dialogue mechanism, and carried out much practical cooperation, such as health cooperation between China and France, China and Britain, and China and Germany. China and France reached an agreement on health and medical science cooperation in 1997. According to the agreement, the two sides decided to cooperate in public health, emergency medicine, and prevention and control of infectious diseases. In addition, they agreed to establish a working group to meet annually to discuss and formulate action plans and evaluate the agreement's implementation. As of now, several health cooperation agreements have been reached by China and France. For example, the two sides released two joint statements on cooperating with an aging population and gerontological nursing in 2017. In addition, the two sides have organized several forums, symposiums, and seminars to foster dialogue and exchange on health matters. [13] 

China and the UK signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation in 2007, guiding their cooperation since then. Today, China and UK have established three health-related dialogue mechanisms: China-UK High-Level People to People Dialogue, China-UK Health Policy Dialogue, and Chin-UK Global Health Dialogue. In addition to the four countries mentioned above, health cooperation between China and some other European countries. For example, China signed a health cooperation agreement with Austria in 1989, and three rounds of health cooperation action plans have been implemented since then. China signed an MOU on health cooperation with Sweden in 2006, and three rounds of health cooperation action plans have been implemented since then. An agreement was reached between China and Norway in 2002 to boost their cooperation in the health sector. Norway pledged to donate 12 million NOK to China's health projects in three years, and half of the donation will be allocated to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. China and Norway signed a health cooperation plan (2017-2020) during Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg's official visit to Beijing in 2017.

China-EU Two-level Health Cooperation amid COVID-19

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has focused global attention on actions to address the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate the impact of the crisis. -As of April 1, 2021, the virus has been detected in more than 60 countries and regions, resulting in more than 135 million confirmed cases and nearly 2.91 million deaths. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China has taken decisive measures to put the pandemic under control. While mobilizing domestic resources to combat the disease, China has kept an open mind to international cooperation. Chinese scientists shared the virus data with other countries. The Chinese government has collaborated closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and provided aid for countries and regions in a dangerous situation. Meanwhile, China has received aid from foreign governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, individuals, etc. As the essential partners globally, China and the EU have a large amount of trade and investment and frequent personnel exchanges. As providers of critical solutions to many global challenges, such as global warming, poverty eradication, and public health.

China and the EU have maintained close ties in response to COVID-19, a new milestone in China-EU cooperation in public health. Specifically, at the beginning of the outbreak, Italy requested the activation of the EU's civil protection mechanism to ensure the supply of medical equipment required for personal protection. "Unfortunately, no EU country has responded to the European Commission's call. Only China has responded bilaterally. This is certainly not a good sign of European unity." [14] The European Union also provided China with timely assistance to fight the pandemic, reflecting the extraordinary friendship and partnership between the two countries. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and the European Union have maintained close ties. When China was in the most challenging time in the early of last spring, the EU official levels coordinated its member states to aid China with more than 50 tons of protective materials, taking actions to show that the EU and its member states are willing to stand together with China to jointly respond to the challenges of the pandemic. For example, The Italian government organized a unique plane to transport medical supplies to China. President Mattarella held a special concert to support the Chinese people in fighting the pandemic. Moreover, the Charity Concert "Supporting Wuhan" &the Polish blues rock band 2LATE. Similarly, when China's domestic anti-virus prevention and control has achieved significant phased results, and Europe is facing enormous difficulties, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively sent condolence calls to the leaders of the European Union and European countries such as France and Germany to express Chinese support for Europe. China upholds the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity, provides necessary assistance to Europe, and demonstrates its responsibility as a significant power in crisis.

First, China and Europe have conducted multiple online meetings and teleconferences to exchange information and share experiences on pandemic prevention and control and diagnosis and treatment. For example, Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, conducted an online meeting with the head of the European Respiratory Society to introduce China's achievements and experience in fighting the virus to the European side. The National Health Commission, the China CDC, the Directorate-General of Health of the European Commission, and the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention have set up a joint expert group to respond to COVID-19 and held many conference calls. Such as On March 19, China held a video conference with 18 European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, to introduce the spread of COVID-19.[15]Then-President of China Xi Jinping, President of France Macron, and Chancellor of Germany Merkel communicated over the phone about pandemics and aid. In the conversation between Xi Jinping and Macron, the two presidents expressed a strong desire to work together to fight the pandemic. They agreed to strengthen bilateral health cooperation for regional and global public health security.
Second, China has sent several teams of medical experts to Europe and provided a large number of prevention supplies. On March 12, the Chinese government sent the first team of medical experts to Italy to help Italy fight the pandemic together. At present, China has announced to provide the European Union and European countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece to provide aid to fight the pandemic. Chinese enterprises and non-governmental organizations also actively provide support and donations to these countries. Jack Ma Charity Foundation and Alibaba Charity Foundation have sent a total of 3.8 million medical masks and 150,000 virus test kits to Italy, Spain, France, Slovenia, and Belgium. In addition to government assistance, some international companies and joint ventures have played an essential role in China-EU health cooperation under the pandemic. For example, Shenzhen Huada Intelligent Manufacturing Technology Co., Ltd. (abbreviated as Huada Intelligent Manufacturing) has maintained close cooperation with the Latvian government. The automated nucleic acid extraction and gene sequencing equipment provided by MGI helped Latvia fight the pandemic. DJI has used drones in Italy, Spain, and other countries to achieve anti-pandemic operations such as aerial virus killing and supplies delivery. 

Third, China is also cooperating closely with Europe on vaccine research and development. After the outbreak, China immediately shared the virus and virus genome sequence information with Europe and has always insisted on developing vaccine research and development through international cooperation. For example, German Chinese Medicine Group Biotech and Fosun Pharma announced on Wednesday that vaccines had entered the clinical trial phase; British vaccine developer AstraZeneca has signed an agreement with Chinese company Shenzen Kangtai. The Chinese pharmaceutical company will produce 100 million doses of vaccine each year. This is the first agreement between China and the British company. 
In the long run, China and the EU may consider further increasing the role of health in the political agenda, and the EU may participate more actively in China's health system reform. At the same time, China's BRI can also serve as a platform to strengthen health cooperation between the two countries to build a global community of health for all jointly. In March 2020, Xi Jinping pointed out at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 that "major infectious diseases are the enemy of all mankind, and they have brought huge challenges to global public health security." [16]Xi Jinping pointed out that "strengthening international cooperation in pandemic prevention and control is an important manifestation of giving play to China's role as a major responsible country and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind." [17]Public health cooperation highlights the concept of "a common future" in a community with a shared future for humanity. Strengthening cooperation between countries to govern public health issues jointly is a practice for building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Challenges and Opportunities of China-EU Two-level Cooperation on Public Health

The prospect of China-EU health cooperation across boundaries. In the face of COVID-19 that continues to rage worldwide, the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity is becoming increasingly significant. The pandemic has brought considerable challenges to both China and the EU, injected new vitality into the deepening of cooperation in health between the two sides, and expanded the space for the future development of China-EU relations.

First, the change of China-EU health cooperation from "aid" to "cooperation" Both China and the EU must re-adapt to the transition to an equal health partnership. China needs to re-balance the health cooperation with the EU and its members. Since its reform and opening up, China has improved its health capacity and system by leveraging international funding and technology. In the process of China-EU health cooperation, the relationship has been characterized by a "donor-recipient" model to change to equal partner, in which the EU had been assisting China. In the beginning, China carried out a series of health projects through European aid funds, technologies, and experience. But now, as an emerging economy with remarkable economic achievements, China's technologies and experience in poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and public health improvement are helping other developing countries. Under this circumstance, some donor countries, including the European Union and the United Kingdom, announced the termination of aid to China and began to seek a more balanced and equal partnership with China. For example, although China has been regarded as a recipient country by the European Commission, the fifth policy document of the European Commission on China has changed. The European Commission declared that as China moves further away from its status as a typical recipient of overseas development assistance, the EU must carefully adjust its cooperation plans and constantly review them. Cooperation must be following the interests of both parties, reflect the EU's principles and values, and help strengthen the partnership. [18]. While adopting the "Reform Agenda," the European Commission put forward proposals for a long-time fiscal framework (2014-2020). In the proposal, China and 18 other countries were excluded from the list of recipient countries. Today, for the EU, "China has transformed from a traditional recipient of overseas development assistance to a strategic partner of the EU on a wide range of policy issues." At present, the China-EU health relationship, which the "non-interference" model has shaped for a long time, is transforming into an equal partnership. However, this does not mean that European health assistance to China has completely ended. Although traditional development assistance has ended, in 2016, the United Kingdom funded 12 health projects in China, with a total expenditure of about 1 million pounds.

Second, China and the EU have the motivation and foundation to strengthen cooperation in the bilateral field further. China and the EU face many common challenges in many areas such as population aging, primary disease prevention, medical system reform, and food safety. China and the EU share common goals in the health sector, including establishing a developed and efficient modern medical and health system to improve people's health. China and the EU can cooperate to deepen the reform of the medical and health system, pharmaceutical procurement, medical services, antimicrobial resistance, digital medical, and information technology to strengthen joint scientific research further.

Third, China and Europe have a lot to do in global health governance. Global health governance faces many challenges, including differences in governance concepts, gaps in health levels between different countries and regions, the diversity of governance bodies, and the complexity of governance fields. Strengthening global health governance and cooperation is an inevitable requirement of globalization. China and Europe should step up reaching consensus in the field of global health, strengthen global health governance capacity and system construction, improve the ability to respond to global public health emergencies, enhance the order and efficiency of global health governance, and strengthen the role of multilateral mechanisms such as the World Health Organization in global health governance, in order to help developing countries in need to strengthen capacity building, and jointly maintain global and regional public health security. The expectations of the international community on China's health cooperation are increasing. For example, developing countries such as China's neighboring countries and African countries hope that we will strengthen technical and financial assistance in health and provide the transfer of production technologies such as related medicines and vaccines. Developed countries hope to establish institutionalized health cooperation with China and hope China will be more open and transparent in pandemic monitoring and virus strain exchange. International organizations hope that China will set an example for the world to prevent and control bird flu, AIDS, tuberculosis, and another disease.

Of course, public health cooperation between China and Europe also faces many challenges

First, health cooperation between China and Europe has gone beyond the bilateral level and is becoming increasingly globalized. China and the EU have tried to cooperate to solve health problems in other developing countries in need, which shows that the China-EU health partnership is playing an increasingly important role in global health governance. This requires both parties to build trust based on the partnership and actively explore, for example, third-party cooperation models. Both China and the EU are increasing their health assistance to Africa. However, the joint health cooperation between China and the EU in Africa needs further exploration. The State Council Information Office of China published the white paper "China's Foreign Aid" in April 2011 and published "China's Foreign Aid (2014)" in July 2014. Both white papers have made a certain degree of assessment and evaluation of China's foreign aid. In the next step, it is possible to establish its evaluation standard system based on China's conditions and international experience, especially the good practices of European developed countries in aid evaluation.

Second, the pandemic has aggravated the EU's political concerns about China as a "Systemic Rival." At the beginning of the pandemic, politicians of Serbia, Hungary, and Italy publicly criticized the EU's ineffective response while they hailed China's medical aid. This heightened the political suspicions of EU leaders, who worried China's actions were driven by geopolitical intentions to divide Europe amid the pandemic. On March 23, 2020, the EUHR, Josep Borrell, wrote a blog, which publicly stated that "a global battle of narratives" is going on in the pandemic, some of which are attempts to discredit the EU. A geopolitical component includes a struggle for influence through the "politics of generosity." His remarks were targeted at China. [19]After that, the EEAS published a report which named and shamed China by using the pandemic to conduct disinformation and expand its public influence in European countries. [20] At the same time, the pandemic has stimulated the EU to strengthen its "economic sovereignty" to guard against China's economic competition. The shortage of medicines and medical supplies caused by the pandemic revealed the EU's heavy dependence on China's supply chain. At the same time, the EU feared that China would use the pandemic to merge and acquire European companies. In such considerations, the EU sought to maintain "economic sovereignty" by enhancing the protectionism policy instruments. In March 2020, The European Commission issued guidelines to protect the critical European assets and technologies regarding health, medical research, and biotechnology as strategic industries into the scope of EU's FDI Screening Regulation in order to tighten the "fence" of investment protection. [21]

Third, Public health governance lacks globally agreed standards. COVAX is a new global vaccine distribution system created by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. On October 8, 2020, China signed an agreement with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization to join COVAX formally. This is an essential measure for China to uphold the concept of a community of human health and fulfill its commitments to promote vaccines as a global public product. On March 17, 2021, the European Commission formally proposed a "green digital certificate" proposal to promote free movement within the EU. It is necessary to have a certificate of inoculation with the COVID-19 vaccine to enter and leave the EU countries that recognize the "vaccine passport." However, the "vaccine passport" only recognizes the four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which does not include the Chinese vaccine. As Chinese vaccines have been donated to 69 countries around the world and exported to 43 countries commercially, the European Union's "vaccine passport" program has hindered the willingness of some European countries to purchase and use Chinese vaccines. In particular, the impact on Central and Eastern European countries that urgently need vaccines is more significant. China and the EU should put forward a set of jointly recognized vaccine passport standards within the framework of the WHO as soon as possible.


Overall, China has established a good relationship with the European Union and its principal member states in health. China and the EU have worked on many transnational public health cooperation projects on two levels. Cooperation with the EU member states is expanding, the cooperation with the level of the EU started to show up. Since the middle of the 20th century, the two sides have set up a cooperation plan, established a dialogue mechanism, and initiated a series of cooperation projects. China-EU health cooperation is transforming from a recipient country model to an equal partnership model. The focus of cooperation has gone beyond the borders and is going global. It is expected that China-EU health cooperation will be significantly strengthened in the long run. In the face of the pandemic, China and the EU should continue to maintain dialogue and exchanges, share information timely. In addition, the concepts of BRI and a "Community of Human Destiny" with a shared future for humanity put forward by China show that China is willing to play a more active role in meeting global challenges. COVID-19 has made the significance of a community with a shared future for humanity more obvious. The concept of "A community with a shared future for mankind" is the guideline of public health cooperation. Public health cooperation is the practice of building a community with a shared future for humanity. In such a closely connected world, only multilateral cooperation can curb the spread of this epidemic. China and the EU need to continue to firmly defend multilateralism and oppose unilateralism to safeguard global public health and security collectively. As the terminus of the BRI, Europe is an essential participant in this initiative. China has proposed establishing a health Belt and Road Initiative to address global health challenges such as pandemics. China and the EU can further use the BRI as a platform to strengthen health cooperation and jointly contribute to building a community with a shared future for humanity.


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This article is supported by the general project of the National Social Science Fund of China, "The Mechanism Game of the "Bottleneck Zone" in Eurasian Interconnection and Research on China's Response" (project number: 19BGJ041).

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  • [13] For example, the China-French Health Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing in 2014, and a symposium on health strategic cooperation was held in Paris in the same year; In 2015, a seminar on prevention and control of Ebola and emerging infectious diseases was held in Wuhan, China.
  • [14] This is a sentence from an article published by the Italian Ambassador to the EU by Maurizio Massari on the European version of Politico. For details, please refer to: Maurizio Massari, Italian Ambassador to the EU: Italy Needs Europe's Help, March 10 2020, 
  • In this regard, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (Ursula von der Leyen) in Italy La Repubblica and the European Parliament apologized to Italy twice in speeches. For details, see: CrispianBalmer, EU Commission Apologises to Italy over Coronavirus Response, Deaths Push Higher, April 2, 2020, https://www.reuters. com/article/us-health-coronavirus-Italy/EU-commission-apologises-to-Italy-over-
  • coronavirus-response-idUSKBN21K2AF.
  • [15] Hua Xia,(2020),China shares experience on COVID-19 fight with int'l community, from
  • [16] QianZhongbin,(2020), Statement by the Leaders of the G20 in Response to the COVID-19 Special Summit, from
  • [17] Wang Yi, Promoting the Construction of a Community of Human Destiny in Global Anti-epidemic Cooperation Guided by Xi Jinping's Diplomatic Thought, Qiushi, No.8, 2020, p. 30.
  • [18] Brussels, 24.10.(2006),EU-China:Closer partners, growing responsibilities, from
  • [19] Brussels, (2021) Foreign Affairs Council: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference, from
  • [20] EEAS Special Report: Disinformation on the Coronavirus—Short Assessment of the Information
  • Environment, EUvsDisinfo; EEAS Special Report Update: Short Assessment of Narratives and
  • Disinformation Around the COVID-19 Pandemic, EUvsDisinfo; and EEAS Special Report Update:
  • Short Assessment of Narratives and Disinformation Around the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic
  • (Updated 2-22 April), EUvsDisinfo.from
  • [21]Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Jue Wang, Yu Jie and James Crabtree Asia-Pacific Programme and the US and the Americas Programme,US-China Strategic Competition The Quest for Global Technological Leadership.p34-37.

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