“The emergence of a special relationship between Germany and China is both an opportunity and a danger for Europe”, finds a recent study published by the European Council on Foreign Relations. “This relationship is built primarily on a business relationship, and not diplomacy,” notes Le Monde, quoting the economist Françoise Lemoine, a China specialist -

‘In 2010 and 2011 half of China’s imports from the European Union came from Germany, which is up from 39 percent in 2000.’ This reinforcement of Germany’s significance as a major trading partner of China has also helped bring European business to China. The fact that Europe has not lost market share in China in the last ten years – unlike Japan and the United States – is largely thanks to Germany. Moreover, Germany is one of those few European countries to enjoy a trade surplus with China. Buoyed by the strength of trade relations built up between Beijing and Berlin, the EU therefore has no choice but to weigh up this new economic partner.

That privileged relationship, however, risks harming the relationship between China and the EU, as it is primarily a bilateral one. “The Chinese want a recovery in Europe to be led by the Germans,” writes Le Temps of Geneva. Looking at the conclusion of the study, the Geneva daily warns -

The only possible balance must be through the EU. To convince the Germans to remain good Europeans in this area, however, a strategic partnership between the EU and China must be developed, and with some urgency.