More fair trade and respect for international law and human rights. These are some of the points the EU raised with China’s leaders at today’s summit.
“Europe must be a player, not a game plan,” said European Council President Charles Michel after the summit between EU leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping. A meeting scaled down to video format due to the corona pandemic.
The statement reflects the fact that in recent years the EU has reconsidered its relationship with China. The country is no longer seen solely as an economic opportunity, but as a competitor and a political rival.
It is a difficult balancing act for the EU. China is important for the European economy and an important partner in the global climate work.
At the same time, the EU has an increasingly critical attitude towards Chinese investments, including in strategic infrastructure such as 5G. The relationship has also become increasingly strained when it comes to human rights.
At today’s meeting, the EU called on China to comply with international law and preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy. The case of the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai was also raised.
– We have requested that the arbitrarily imprisoned Swedish citizen Minhai be released, said Charles Michel.
Nonetheless the parties try to expand cooperation where possible, mainly at the economic level.
The EU and China have been negotiating an investment agreement for many years. They have taken significant steps towards an agreement in some areas, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
However, much work remains, especially with regard to the EU’s demands for greater access to the Chinese market without having to share technological know-how with Chinese companies.
Pending an investment agreement, the EU and China could today at least sign an agreement protecting products of particular geographical origin. The agreement covers 100 products on each side – including champagne, Parma ham and feta cheese, as well as Chinese rice, tea and bean paste.
Source: ICELAND NEWS