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European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC)

The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) is a gathering of China experts from a selection of European policy research institutes. It is devoted to the study of Chinese foreign policy and EU-China relations and facilitates regular exchanges among participating researchers. ETNC strives to deepen the understanding of how Europe, as a complex set of actors, relates with China and how China’s development and evolving global role will impact the future of Europe. In particular, when examining the EU-China relationship, the network’s discussions, analyses and recommendations take a decidedly ‘bottom-up’ approach, examining the bilateral relationships between EU member states and China in order to generate a more complex perspective on the broader EU-China relationship.

The network was first launched on the initiative of the Elcano Royal Institute and the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) at Ifri’s office in Brussels on 6 November 2014. This meeting brought together experts from eleven member states, as well as observers from EU institutions. The members of ETNC decided to meet in a different capital every six months and the Mercator Institute of China Studies (MERICS) joined Elcano and Ifri in their efforts to move the project forward. A second meeting was subsequently held on 17 April at Elcano’s offices in Madrid, and a third at the MERICS offices in Berlin on 12 November 2015.

The goals of the ETNC are:

  • To facilitate regular exchanges among European researchers on key issues related to China and Chinese foreign policy, and in particular on how they relate to the EU and individual EU member states.

  • To generate discussions among European policy experts on bilateral relationships between EU member states and China, and subsequently on the EU-China relationship more broadly.

  • To contribute to the analysis of China’s emerging grand strategy by focusing on European perspectives, with an eye on how this crucial relationship impacts the broader global economic and political order.

  • To provide recommendations for the conduct of Europe-China relations based on in-depth discussions and research conducted by experts within the network.

  • To create a European pool of expertise and contact networks in and on China that can be activated and utilized whenever one of the participating members requires it.

Ultimately, the main aim of ETNC is to enhance European expertise, knowledge and networking capacity on China’s foreign policy and its foreign relations with the EU member states and the EU itself by focusing on all the different levels of interaction. These range from the local to the supranational, but ETNC considers the national sphere as the analytical point of departure.

List of institutions contributing to ETNC

Coordinating institutions

  • Elcano Royal Institute, Spain
  • French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), France
  • Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), Germany

Participating institutions

  • Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, Belgium
  • Institute of International Relations, Czech Republic
  • Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark
  • Finnish Institute for International Affairs, Finland
  • Institute of International Economic Relations, Greece
  • Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  • Institute of International and European Affairs, Ireland
  • Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Italy 
  • Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA), Latvia
  • The Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, The Netherlands
  • Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Poland
  • University of Aveiro, Portugal
  • University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden
  • Chatham House, United Kingdom

List of ETNC reports

Important disclaimer

The views presented in ETNC reports are the sole responsibility of the signed authors and do not in any way represent the views of all members of the ETNC, its participating institutions, nor the institutions with which the authors are affiliated.