The European Union released this paper describing its strategy towards China and why Europe has an interest in China's development. A midterm review of the strategy was released in 2010.
The executive summary states:
"With 1.3 billion inhabitants, China is the world's most populous country and has in recent years undergone economic growth at constantly high levels. This growth has delivered higher incomes, has had a dramatic impact on the reduction of poverty, and is contributing significantly towards the attainment of global MDG targets. At the same time, however, it has led to considerable income and regional disparities, has resulted in a high degree of environmental degradation, and has created vulnerable groups of the population.
China's development policy guidelines are set out in its 11th Five Year Plan (adopted in 2006) which marks a perceptible shift from all-out economic growth to one which places increasing emphasis on the social consequences associated with rapid economic development. China has also begun to show willingness to shoulder its growing international responsibilities.
Europe has an important economic and political interest in supporting China's sustainable development and successful transition to a stable, prosperous and open country. EU relations with China have developed from a relationship based mainly on trade issues to a partnership based on political dialogue and economic, trade and sectoral relations. The co-operation programme is an important element of this relationship.
China is, however, moving away from the status of a traditional ODA recipient towards that of a strategic partner with whom the EU engages on a wide range of policy issues, and one that is becoming an increasingly important source of ODA to other developing countries.
The response strategy for the future EC co-operation programme therefore needs to take account of the contradiction in China's nature: that of a developing country in terms of certain traditional indicators on the one hand, and that of a significant player on the world stage in economic and political terms on the other.
In recognition of this 'duality' of character, the EC response strategy will be targeted at providing support for China's reform programme in areas covered by sectoral dialogues; assisting China in tackling global concerns and challenges over the environment, energy and climate change; and supporting China's human resource development. Indicative funding for the seven-year period is €224 million. EC assistance in the areas of intervention will be complemented by actions and support to be provided though various thematic programmes and regional budget lines."