The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has accused China of wanting to change the world order to impose its dominance, and of using its tools of "commercial economic coercion" and disinformation policies to do so.
The statement was made by Von der Leyen on the eve of her trip with French President Emmanuel Macron to Beijing next week.
The president added that Chinese President Xi Jinping wants a "systemic change" of the international order with China at the center, and has accused him of promoting an alternative vision of the world order to impose another "in which individual rights are subordinated." to sovereignty, and security and the economy take precedence over political and civil rights”, he said.
"He Essentially Wants China to Become the Most Powerful Nation in the World"
Von der Leyen has called for "rebalancing the relationship between the EU and China" and establishing new "defensive tools" for the industry and to shield European security, and has announced that it is preparing a new package of measures to control European investments in the abroad in strategic sectors.
A strategy that will be prepared by the end of this year, he has commented, and that seeks to strengthen a clear line of trade, especially in key technologies in which investment flight could generate risks for the security of the EU.
"We need to make sure that the capital, experience and knowledge of our companies are not used to improve the military and intelligence capabilities of those who are also systemic rivals", said the head of the Community Executive, who has slipped that the new Times do not favor the idea of reopening the China-EU investment agreement, frozen by the European Parliament in 2021 and which the President of the European Council had threatened to resume.
"Our relationship is unbalanced and increasingly affected by the distortions created by China's state capitalism," she launched.
Von der Leyen, one of the harshest voices in recent times with the Asian giant, one of the closest to the position of the United States and who has insisted the most on the EU dependencies of Beijing, will arrive in China at a key moment. , shortly after the visit of the Chinese head of state to Moscow.
With that thread, he has dismissed Xi's plan to end Russia's war in Ukraine as "unfeasible" because it does not call for the withdrawal of Russian troops and thus consolidates the occupation.
He has also strongly criticized the Chinese leader's closeness to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
"Far from being put off by the egregious and illegal invasion of Ukraine, President Xi maintains his 'unlimited friendship' with Putin's Russia,"
"China has a responsibility to play a constructive role in moving towards a just peace," he claimed.
"The way in which China continues to interact with Putin's war will be a determining factor in the progress of the EU's relations with China," warned the German policy, which has highlighted Moscow's increasing dependence on Beijing.
Olaf Scholz, Pedro Sánchez, Josep Borrell...
The head of the Community Executive has thus established her position for the trip to China, one more of the diplomatic carousel of these days: Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish president, is already there, and after the visit of Von der Leyen and Macron, the head of the European diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
Earlier, late last year, European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the Asian giant on controversial trips amid concerns about China's trade appetite.
Aware that there is no common European front and that China can be a complex and divisive issue, Von der Leyen has called for unity.
“A strong European policy towards China is based on a strong coordination of the Member States and the EU institutions in the will to avoid the divide and conquer tactics that we know we can face”, said Von der Leyen, who it has urged to respond to reduce the risks instead of disassociating itself from the Asian giant;
something that "is not viable", he has said.
China is Europe's second-biggest trade and investment partner and the two economies exchanged 795 billion euros worth of goods and services in 2021, according to EU data.
Beijing represents 9% of exports of goods and more than 20% of imports.
Meanwhile, China, fresh out of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, is also courting the EU in a global diplomatic offensive in which it wants to present itself as an arbiter on the geopolitical board, with initiatives such as mediation for the restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
But in the European Union —as these drip trips make visible— there is no unified position of the Twenty-seven to take to Beijing, although there is a common spirit of recalibrating the commercial position towards China —also towards the United States.
When the EU is in the process of establishing a new industrial policy, with regulations to avoid dependencies on third countries, and above all on a single supplier —as is the case with China in certain crucial materials and minerals for the development of new technologies and green industry — Macron has proposed his trip to explore energy and trade issues, diplomatic sources point out.
His stance, like Germany's, has traditionally been more pragmatic, although in recent times he, too, has spoken of the importance of disengaging from Beijing.
In their joint visit, Von der Leyen, who acknowledges that the elements behind Beijing's return to the world stage are worrying, will provide the counterweight.
The head of the Commission claims to "clearly establish" the terms of a "healthy compromise".
"China is becoming more repressive at home and more assertive abroad," remarked Von der Leyen, who also spoke about the situation in Taiwan, human rights violations in Xinjiang, and economic reprisals against Lithuania.
Follow all the international information on
, or in
our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber