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Observers are pessimistic about the outcome of negotiations between the leaders of China and Europe

“It is important for Chinese leaders to understand that every day, Europeans are watching this war unfold in Ukraine. Le Corre, senior fellow at the Center for China Analysis of the Asian Institute of Social Policy, said:

“From the point of view of French President Macron, he has to come home with … at least commitments (from Beijing), a step further from the kind of neutrality that China is talking about, which is not considered neutral almost everywhere. circle.”

Relations have also become strained because of “market differences”, Mr. Le Corre said, citing EU chief von der Leyen’s call for more defensive tools – for example. as anti-coercive tools – to counter China’s assertiveness as a “systemic adversary”.

Furthermore, EU member states are eager to reduce the union’s economic dependence on China, Professor Cabestan said. He added that some countries have more closely screened Chinese investments and put in place safeguards to prevent the transfer of military and digital technology to Beijing.

“This is not the end of business, but I think doing business with China will become more selective,” he said.


Chinese Ambassador to the EU Fu Cong last week reiterated his call to revive the proposed EU-China investment deal, which has been stalled since 2021 due to tit-for-tat sanctions. on human rights issues.

Mr. Fu suggested that the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) could move forward if sanctions on both sides were mutually lifted.

However, Mr Le Corre said he was not optimistic about any progress on the deal, at least during diplomatic visits this week, as many EU MPs sanctioned by China were unrepresented.

“Some of the reasons the deal is frozen now haven’t really changed. For example, China’s commitments in ratifying the forced labor convention, the suppression of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang… all of these are still going on,” he told CNA’s Asia Tonight.

However, he expressed hope that the visit of Mr. Macron and Ms. von der Leyen will kick-start more diplomacy between the EU and China.

“It is difficult because there are so many disagreements and differences between the two sides,” Le Corre said.

“Let’s hope that at least they get involved this time, it’s not a predictable conclusion… Then there will be more visits and exchanges, which is absolutely necessary.”

Mr. Macron is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials on Thursday and visit the Chinese city of Guangzhou on Friday.

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