Eleanor Mears

Trade reporter at POLITICO Europe, with a particular interest in EU-China relations. Previously worked for Deutsche Welle, the Guardian and the BBC.


Please feel free to browse some of my past work listed here, and my LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Iran won’t return to nuclear commitments until US lifts sanctions, Khamenei says

The U.S. withdrew from the deal under former President Donald Trump | Kahmenei.ir/AFP via Getty Images Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States must lift all sanctions against the country if it wants it to halt Tehran’s nuclear expansion. Writing on Twitter on Sunday, he claimed that Iran “abided by all its commitments” under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In contrast, he said, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France

EU weighs action after Myanmar coup

EU countries have yet to agree on joint actions against the junta that staged a coup in Myanmar | STR/AFP via Getty Images European leaders were quick to condemn a military coup in Myanmar on Monday, but it looks likely to take them significantly longer to agree on any action against the junta that has detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won elections in November. While U.S. President Joe Biden called on the Myanmar military to "immediately relinquish" power and pledged to re

EU’s soft approach to China puts it at odds with US

While U.S. President Joe Biden is looking to identify America’s allies in tackling China, the EU is increasingly sticking out as the major economic bloc that is cozying up to Beijing. Washington on Tuesday dramatically raised the stakes in the global debate over banning imports from China by declaring that the crackdown against Muslim Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang was a "genocide." While Britain and Canada are moving quickly to align themselves with the tough U.S. position on trade

UK businesses wake up to hard truths on tariffs

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have promised a "tariff-free" post-Brexit trade deal at the end of last year, but British businesses are increasingly sounding the alarm over the scale of potential new duties. Throughout nearly five years of Brexit talks, economists and trade experts repeatedly warned that, even in the best-case scenario, an EU-U.K. accord would only prevent the imposition of tariffs on goods that were predominantly produced in the U.K.

MEPs emerge as top hurdle to EU-China trade deal

Guy Verhofstadt from the liberal-centrist Renew Europe group has been outspoken about the agreement | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images The European Parliament is now the decisive battleground for the EU's highly contentious investment agreement with China, and there is every chance that MEPs could refuse to ratify it over Beijing's human rights abuses. The European Commission concluded the deal at a political level with China at the end of last year, but parliamentarians are questioning

UK-EU Brexit trade deal at a glance

The deal between the U.K. and the EU is the largest bilateral trade pact in history, the two sides said on Thursday. It is also the first modern trade deal to disintegrate a trading partnership, erecting and defining barriers between markets. The deal, which covers a collective market worth $905 billion as of 2019, has not yet been published in full but a suite of documents released by the EU and the U.K. paints a picture of the agreement.

EU-China investment deal hits a snag as US exerts pressure

The chances of China and the European Union concluding a landmark investment deal before the end of the year appear to be diminishing, as opposition grows, including from the U.S., to any agreement that fails to tackle the issue of forced labor. Talks between EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday morning, were postponed, according to someone briefed on the negotiations. Ambassadors from the EU member states, meeting Tuesday afternoo

EU nears China trade deal despite slave labor fears

The EU-China deal is set to face intense political scrutiny | Pool photo by Yves Herman/AFP via Getty Images China and the EU are racing to strike a trade accord in the final days of the year, but political scrutiny over China's record on forced labor has only just begun. Negotiators from Brussels and Beijing have made a breakthrough on access to each other's markets and the EU's trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis will on Monday try to seal the deal with his Chinese counterpart Liu He, EU diplomat

5 reasons the Asia-Pacific trade deal matters for Europe

Europe will have to pay close attention to the consequences of the huge trade deal struck between 15 Asia-Pacific nations this week, covering a third of the world’s population and gross domestic product. Almost a decade in the making, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will eliminate tariffs on a wide range of products for its member countries and establish common rules for e-commerce, trade and intellectual property.

China’s mixed Marxist messages undercut EU trade prospects

Before European leaders agree to a landmark investment accord with Beijing, they want to know what kind of China they’d be striking a deal with. Is it the internationalist, multilateralist country trumpeted by Beijing’s top diplomats abroad? Or is it the one centered around a more Marxist vision, as presented by President Xi Jinping at home? Suspicions are growing among EU leaders that it’s the latter.

Halloumi cheese puts EU’s Canada trade deal to the test

Halloumi cheese has pushed EU trade policy into uncharted and potentially hazardous territory. On Friday, Cypriot lawmakers voted against the EU trade deal with Canada in a 37-18 vote, making Cyprus the first EU country to reject an accord that has been provisionally in force since 2017. The parliamentarians' reasons for opposing the EU's Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Ottawa ranged from concerns about labor rights to anger over insufficient legal protections for Cyprus's natio

Germany aims to protect abattoir workers after mass COVID outbreaks

The logo of abattoir company Toennies at their headquarters in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, near Guetersloh Germany’s slaughterhouses will have to offer contracts to all workers involved in slaughtering, cutting and processing under a new draft law approved by Cabinet ministers Wednesday. Unions and migrant worker advocates welcomed the legislation, which follows a major coronavirus outbreak at the Tönnies meat plant near Gütersloh in west Germany last month that infected more than 1,500 workers and sp

European Parliament ratifies Vietnam trade deal

Vietnam's textile industry is included in the newly ratified trade deal with the EU European Parliamentarians on Wednesday voted in favor of a trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam, taking the deal over its last hurdle. Some 401 MEPs voted in favor, with 192 against, according to Parliament's trade committee. The pact pits the EU’s aspirations to gain a foothold in one of Southeast Asia’s most important and expanding markets — with a population of 96 million — against the concerns of act