The President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, pointed out that relations between China and the EU will determine China’s further actions in the context of the Ukrainian conflict. One way or another, the European leadership does not plan to distance itself from China.
“Let’s be honest, how China continues to act within the framework of the conflict in Ukraine will be a determining factor in the development of relations between the EU and China,” Ms von der Leyen said at the European Political Center (EPC) conference.
According to the head of the EC, China has moved from the era of “reform and openness” to the era of “security and control.” At the same time, Beijing, according to Ms. von der Leyen, is becoming more assertive abroad. Nevertheless, it is “vital” for Europe to reduce the risks in relations with China and continue the dialogue with the authorities of the country.
At the same time, the EC President continued, the EU must “rebalance” and reduce its dependence on China for key resources (in particular lithium and other rare earth metals). In the arsenal of European states there are tools that can contribute to this, Ms. von der Leyen points out, in particular, attention should be paid to the high-tech sector. “We will stress test our relationship to see where we are overly dependent on him. The EU depends on China for 98% for rare earths, 97% for lithium and 93% for magnesium,” she said.
Thus, the EC intends to present ideas for additional measures to control European investment in sensitive technology sectors, so that they do not contribute to the growth of the military or intelligence potential of the “systemic rival”.
Finally, Europe should continue its dialogue with China on climate change and environmental protection, von der Leyen concluded. “And this is one of the reasons why I will go to Beijing with President Macron,” said the head of the EC.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will pay a visit to Beijing at the end of March – he intends to “learn more” about the Chinese peace initiative in Ukraine. A joint visit by Ursula von der Leyen and Emmanuel Macron to Beijing is scheduled for April.