The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) is a gathering of China experts from a selection of European research institutes. It is devoted to the policy-oriented study of Chinese foreign policy and relations between China and European countries as well as China and the EU. It facilitates regular exchanges among participating researchers with a view to deepening the understanding within the European policy and research community and the broader public of how Europe, as a complex set of actors, relates with China and how China’s development and evolving global role is likely to impact the future of Europe. The network’s discussions and analyses take a ‘bottom-up’ approach, accounting for the various aspects of bilateral relations between European countries and China, and the points of convergence and divergence among EU member states in order to examine EU-China relations in a realistic and comprehensive way.
ETNC strives for independent policy research and analysis and, since its inception, is entirely funded by its participating members. The topics treated in ETNC reports are debated and decided upon collectively by its members.
The network was first launched on the initiative of the Elcano Royal Institute and the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) in Brussels on 6 November 2014. This meeting brought together experts from eleven EU member states, as well as observers from EU institutions. The ETNC members decided to meet in a different capital every six months and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) joined Elcano and Ifri in their efforts to move the project forward. Meetings have been subsequently held at Elcano’s offices in Madrid (April 2015), the MERICS offices in Berlin (November 2015), the ESCCA School of Management in Budapest (April 2016), the Institute of International Relations in Prague (October 2016), the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki (May 2017), the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome (October 2017), the University of Aveiro in Portugal (May 2018), the Latvian Institute of International Affairs/Riga Stradins University in Riga (October 2018), the Institute of International Economic Relations in Athens (May 2019) and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, in The Hague (October 2019). The network now counts members from 20 research institutes in as many countries, and each participates on the basis of equality.