After the honeymoon is over, the reality sets in
Updated: 2014-03-24 07:34
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
"Chinese do business with people they trust and know. And once there is that trust, they don't necessarily need a contract. In Europe international affairs and trade, in particular, are in a radically different order. You have to write down all the details of the contract and if one party doesn't comply they go to the courts."
In a relationship of trust, Ebermann believes it is dangerous to expect results in just two or three years, which he sees as the medium term.
"You have to see the longer picture and know where you want to go."
On economic reform in China, Ebermann thinks everything is heading in the right direction, even if the hand of the state is still a brake on far too many things. "If you make this simpler, if you withdraw state supervision from a number of key areas in the economies, that should be very beneficial to China's economic performance. And it's good to see there is a clampdown on one of the most inherent problems of the political system, which is corruption."
In some quarters last year, Premier Li Keqiang's visit to eastern and central Europe after the China-EU summit last November was criticized, but Ebermann considers China's activities to get the balance right in its relationships with the EU and its member states as normal geopolitics, "totally professional, understandable and what I myself would have done as well".
"On the one hand, China has painfully realized sometimes that the EU has its limits in foreign policy and international relations other than economic and technical sector issues," which means if the EU is not strong enough to deliver dialogue on foreign policy issues, bilateral dialogues come naturally.
"The other point is that China has very limited investment in Europe. Compared with highly competitive local markets in Germany, the UK or France, it's easier to get into the single market in Eastern Europe. "
Although he welcomes China's reforms since the new leadership took office last year, he feels foreign affairs need more attention."I would like to see a bit more development on international relations, what China's role in global affairs is, how China see its role in the region, not just relations with big powers such as the US but beyond."