Last year it was the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who decisively shifted talk of "decoupling" with China to "de-risking." This seemed a more cogent expression of Europe's policy of managing risk and also distinguished Europe's approach to China which it views as a partner for cooperation, an economic competitor, and a systemic rival.
Talk of de-risking is now all the rage in boardrooms across European capitals, in Brussels, and beyond. But what it really means for companies or for policy-makers is still being assessed. Also still being assessed is whether Europe, with divergent interests and priorities among member states, can maintain a coherent China strategy. Even if the E.U. and its member states can conceptually agree on de-risking as they seek to determine what it practically implies, 2024 brings E.U. elections amid ongoing challenges with global implications in both China and Europe.
Join us for a conversation on the priorities and complexities in EU-China relations and what it all means for global business.
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.
Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union to China
After taking his Degree in Law and entering the Diplomatic School in Spain, Ambassador Toledo joined the Spanish Foreign Service in 1989. Since then, except for three years in Senegal, where he was Ambassador of Spain from 2008 to 2011, his career has been devoted mostly to European Union Affairs. Among others, he was Spanish Secretary of State for the EU and European Affairs. In Asia, he has been posted to India and Japan before arriving to China in September 2022 as the Ambassador of the European Union.
Ambassador Toledo strongly believes in the European integration and that only together can EU Member States have a meaningful relation and dialogue with a strong world power as China.
Jens Eskelund was born in 1970 in Aarhus, Denmark. He holds an MA in philosophy and has studied at University of Aarhus and University of Texas at Austin. He has also pursued studies in Chinese at Renmin University in Beijing. Coming to Beijing as a student in 1998, Jens Eskelund began his career in China as Commercial Officer at the Danish Embassy to China before taking on a position in marketing for Maersk Line in Beijing in 2000. He has since held positions as General Manager for Public Affairs for Maersk Line in China and later Director of Public Affairs for North Asia before assuming his present role as Chief Representative for Maersk in the Greater China Area and North-East Asia. Primary focus areas comprise engaging government entities, institutions, trade associations and Chinese enterprises on matters of policy, regulatory environment, decarbonization and business development on behalf of the companies within the Maersk Group. Jens Eskelund is a former Chairman of the Danish Chamber of Commerce in China as well as the Maritime Working Group of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC). Jens Eskelund has been active in the EUCCC since 2001 and was elected president of the EUCCC in May 2023.
Ding Chun is Jean Monnet Endowed Chair Professor of Economics and International Relations and serves as the director of the Institute of World Economy at Fudan University. He is and has been the director of the Center for European Studies and the Center for China-Europe Cultural Exchange Research at Fudan, Vice President of the China European Studies Association, Vice President and Secretary-General of the China EU Research Association, Vice President of the Shanghai European Studies Association, and Executive Director of the China World Economy Society. He is on the academic committee of "European Studies," an editorial board member of the "Asia Pacific Journal of EU Studies," and a member of the European Committee of the Global Agenda Expert Committee of the World Economic Forum. Professor Ding was also a senior at the European Research Institute at the University of Bonn in Germany, an academic advisor at the European Research Center of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, a Robert Schuman Chair Professor at the University of Luxembourg and a rotating chair of the Asia-Pacific EU Studies Network.
Professor Ding has authored and edited five books, including "Deepening the EU-China Partnership: Bridging Institutional and Ideational Differences in an Unstable World" and "Elderly Care and Nursing Insurance: Cases from China, Germany, and Japan." His research contributions extend to over 150 articles published in both Chinese and international professional journals, such as the "World Economic Research," "European Studies," "Asia Pacific Journal of EU Studies," and the German magazine "Zeit."
Professor Ding is a senior counsel to various government agencies and departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Commerce, among others.
China Director of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Mattie Bekink is responsible for the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network’s China strategy, including programme development and client engagement across China.
Ms Bekink has extensive experience in the public, private and policy sectors. Prior to joining The Economist Group, she was the Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in the Netherlands. She also ran an eponymous consulting business, advising businesses, universities and non-profit organisations on China policy, strategy, public affairs, and CSR. Ms Bekink practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, has worked with the US-Asia Law Initiative at NYU Law School and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Program, and served in the legal department at General Motors China.
Ms Bekink has a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Beijing Director of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Robert Xiao is the Director of the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network (EICN) in Beijing. He is responsible for engaging with top executives in the region and providing insights on economic and policy trends to support their business development in the Chinese market.
Mr Xiao was previously a PhD Supervisor and Deputy Director of the Impact Finance Hub at Deakin Business School before joining EICN. His research mainly focused on the fields of corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and economic and financial policy analysis related to the Chinese market. He has authored multiple publications in Financial Times Top 50 Journals and been awarded major research grants jointly by the Australia Academy of Social Sciences and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He also has more than a decade of experience teaching business courses including in Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Finance, and Bachelor of Commerce programmes at leading universities.
Mr Xiao has a Ph.D. in Finance and B.Com. (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from Monash University.