EU-China Summit, A Dialogue of the Deaf

Italian economist and China expert Michele Geraci summarized the outcome of the 23rd EU-China summit, that took place by videoconference on April 1, with the following comment: “While [Chinese President] Xi’s message was one of detente, [EU Commission President Ursula] von der Leyen and [EU Council President Charles] Michel let loose with the usual, now inopportune repertoire: human rights, Xinjiang, Taiwan, working against peace in Ukraine. A disaster.”

At the onset of the summit, Schiller Institute chair Helga Zepp-LaRouche was interviewed on CGTN’s “Dialogue Weekend” program, where she noted that the EU had already announced beforehand that they wanted the Ukraine crisis to be practically “the only issue” on the agenda, and that China should exert influence on Russia, although China clearly did not want to take sides. “However, given the fact that the EU economy is in a free fall, and with the accumulation of Covid and now the sanctions, Europe is not in a strong position at all.”

On the other hand, “China has a conception which I think lends itself to a mediation role, and that is President Xi Jinping’s idea of a shared future of the joint humanity. I think that is the most important conception right now, given the fact that we are in a situation strategically which is more dangerous than during the Cuban missile crisis. What we really need, and I think China would be uniquely in a unique position to do that, is to propose a new international security architecture, which would take into account the interests of every single country on the planet.”

Indeed, during the summit, Xi brought forward a four-point proposal for dealing with the Ukraine crisis: 1) promote peace talks; 2) prevent a humanitarian crisis on a bigger scale; 3) foster lasting peace in Europe and the Eurasian continent; and 4) prevent the regional conflict from magnifying to a larger arena.

More importantly, Xi warned that sanctions (which he called “the weaponizing of the world economy”) “will trigger serious crises in global finance, trade, energy, technology, food, industrial and supply chains, among others“ which might take years or decades to recover from.

As if in a dialogue of the deaf, Ursula von der Leyen stated in a tweet after the event that “there must be respect for international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” for which “China, as a Permanent member of the UN Security Council, has a special responsibility.” Then she issued her orders: “China must: stop its unjustified trade measures against Lithuania; lift sanctions against the members of the European Parliament; address global concerns on human and labor rights, especially in Xinjiang; and improve access and conditions for EU companies in its market.”

She had made similar remarks in her joint press conference with Charles Michel after the Summit. It’s unclear if she made the same demands during the discussion with Xi, or if she added them for good measure. But it is somewhat beyond the pale, even for the hysterical and overbearing Ursula von der Leyen.

In any case, it led Michele Geraci to comment that: “At lady von der Leyen’s press conference after the EU-China summit, we had confirmation that 1) they are not searching for peace; 2) they are not able to solve problems; 3) they will severely hurt member countries; 4) they are arrogant; 5) those who support them are accomplices.”

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