Consensus lacking within European Union overlifting of arms embargo on China. Removal of arms embargo highly unlikely.
Under Spain’s 6-month occupancy of the rotating presidency of theEuropean Union there has been increasing discussion over lifting thearms embargo the EU imposed on China after the Tiananmen Squaremassacre.
It is highly unlikely the embargo will be lifted for thefollowing reasons:
The European Parliament has voted (symbolically) against thelifting of the embargo until China ceases cooperation withunsavory regimes in Africa. This is unlikely to occur anytimesoon.
American pressure has been effective in preventing the lifting of the embargo in the past.
Some states which previously favored lifting the arms embargohave changed their positions – namely France under PresidentSarkozy. Germany’s position has also moved closer to that of theUnited States.
Consensus is required for EU decisions.
The opposition of one state can halt action. Unanimity does not exist on this issue.
China’s non-cooperation with Europe over matters ranging fromIran to Darfur to global warming mean Europe is in no mood tokowtow to China on this issue.
Factors in favor of the lifting of the embargo:
China has asked for the embargo to be removed on thegrounds that it amounts to “political discrimination.”
China does have support for the lifting of the embargo fromvarious states within the EU, namely: Spain, Greece, Malta,Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
China’s growing power and influence may mean the EU willhave to consider lifting the embargo in order to gain China’sgoodwill. The factors supporting the lifting of the embargo are not as powerful oras numerous as those against it. The EU’s consensus-based model of decision making combined with European unease over China’s foreignpolicy in places like Tibet and Africa means the embargo is likely to bein place for the foreseeable future.