Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing (Reuters)
The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said today that although “inevitably” there are “differences” between the EU countries when it comes to redefining the relationship with China, they are “united” in the need to reduce the risks of economic dependency.
“In a complex relationship like the one we have with China, there are inevitably different approaches because there are different interests,” Borrell said at a press conference at the end of the first day of the informal meeting held by EU foreign ministers in Stockholm.
“A large exporter to China is not the same, as in the case of Germany, or countries that have almost no economic relations. Obviously there are different situations. But one thing is clear: the Twenty-seven are united, ”said the high representative, regarding the proposal that he presented to the ministers today to redefine the terms of the future relationship with Beijing.
The new strategy is based on the confirmation that the rivalry with China “has become more important” and will affect “almost all” areas of the relationship, given China’s desire to “create a new international order.”
An image of the EU-China summit in Beijing (Reuters)
For this reason, to undertake the digital transformation, the EU must reduce the dependencies it has with China -from whom it buys solar panels and has essential raw materials to produce batteries- and “which are greater” than those that the Europeans had until the last year of Russian energy, Borrell said.
The EU also wants to rebalance the trade balance with China, since the trade deficit has increased, according to the high representative, by 58% in the last year, from 250,000 million to 396,000 million euros.
“We value exchanges with the people of China and their leaders. But we will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal, and create new ones when necessary, to ensure that exchanges are carried out in accordance with our interests. “Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said at the press conference.
At the same time, “relations between the EU and China will not develop if China does not pressure Russia to withdraw from Ukraine,” underlines the text discussed by the ministers.
“It is important that China understands that for us what is happening in Ukraine is an existential threat,” Borrell said.
In terms of security, the EU has also made it clear that it wants the status quo to be maintained in the Taiwan Strait, an essential seaway for world trade.
(With information from EFE)
“Global Gateway”: this is the plan with which the European Union seeks to counteract China’s influence in AfricaJosep Borrell acknowledged that it is impossible for the European Union to maintain a relationship of trust with China if it does not help stop the war in Ukraine