China’s growing power and influence raise important and inescapable questions for countries and societies around the world, not least for Europe. A rising China offers opportunities for greater cooperation, both bilaterally and in the context of old and new multilateral institutions, yet also carries inherent risks for the European Union (EU), not least in the way in which it may make it (even) more difficult to manage the relations with other global powers while also maintaining unity among EU member states. This special issue examines Europe’s response to the steady and dramatic rise of China over the past two decades. In particular, it explores the challenges as well as the many instances of engagement that define their relations today across a number of policy areas, including economic, diplomatic, and security relations. The contributions to this special issue demonstrate the varied, multi-faceted and to some extent contradictory nature of EU-China relations. The two sides are in an ever-closer economic embrace, yet they remain distant and occasionally antagonistic with respect to security concerns or normative discourses.