Europeans and Chinese are organizing on Monday a summit conference to try to resolve their many differences and prepare for an extraordinary meeting of their leaders, of which the highlight will be the signing of an agreement on protection of investments.
Washington sees the summit of a very bad eye. “The chinese communist Party wants to force you to choose” between the United States and China, has warned the head of american diplomacy Mike Pompeo.
The representatives of the EU, Charles Michel, the president of the Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the Commission, will speak at 10HOO with the Prime minister Li Keqiang. President Xi Jinping is expected to take part in the interview, according to chinese officials.
“China attaches great importance to this meeting and is willing to work with the EU to achieve positive results,” assured the spokesman of the Ministry of foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian
Everyone has expressed his or her expectations and concerns during the preparatory meetings. Mistrust dominates and is reflected in the form of warnings veiled.
The Europeans are worried about the growing power of Beijing on Hong Kong with the question of the autonomy of the territory and the infringements of the fundamental freedoms.
The EU demanded on Friday the release of several of the defenders of human rights. It has also denounced the disinformation campaign orchestrated by China about the pandemic of Covid-19.
Josep Borrell, the head of european diplomacy, has passed the message to his chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a meeting on 15 June.
The european Parliament has supported these pressures with the passage Friday of a resolution very hard in support of Hong Kong. Elected officials have called for sanctions against the officers guilty of the suppression if the new security law, adopted in Beijing, is applied in the territory.
The Chinese are concerned by the new european legislation on foreign investment and the taking away of the EU in regard to them.
Engaged in a conflict of commercial and political relations with Washington, Beijing is seeking support. But the Europeans refuse to get caught up in the game of tensions between the two powers.
“Europe will not be the battlefield of the United States and China,” said Sunday the european commissioner for industry Thierry Breton.
“Despite the many differences with the american administration, the transatlantic partnership remains the most important relationship for the EU”, said Josep Borrell.
But “China is a necessary partner”, he insisted. The exchange of goods between China and the EU accounted for € 1.5 billion per day in 2019, according to data from the Commission.
“The relationship with China is complex, and it will remain so,” admitted Mr. Borrell. It should be “based on trust, transparency and reciprocity”.
Beijing has responded with a warning implied.
“China hopes that the EU will put in place an environment that is fair, impartial and non-discriminatory” for investment, said its ambassador to the EU Zang Ming. “The capital is very sensitive and loose. In the event of a change of wind, the capital will vote with its feet”, he warned.
Europe and china have started negotiations to conclude an agreement on the protection of investments of great interest to Beijing. “China is committed to conclude on time,” insisted his ambassador.
But Europeans still see no progress.
The report of the extraordinary summit with president Xi in September in Leipzig, German chancellor Angela Merkel, with all of its counterparts, gives a bit of extra time to the negotiators. The virtual summit is expected to give a signal in this sense.
“We need to continue negotiations. We need a good agreement, and we are not there. We will take the time necessary”, explained the european Commission.
“A bad agreement is not an option,” warned Sunday the German ambassador to Brussels Michael Clauss. Germany takes over the six-month EU presidency on 1 July.