The new president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said in an interview with the US media on December 19 that he would not let the United States dominate EU-China relations.
He also pointed out in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the EU’s new leadership team has prioritized deepening economic relations with China while protecting its own market.
He said he would lobby EU member states at the beginning of the new year to face the Beijing government in a more united manner. He pointed to the lack of focus on past work in Europe in this regard.
He said that Europe would continue to discuss with Washington its policy on China, but would not allow EU-China relations to be dominated by the United States. “We are not a weaker partner of the United States. It means we can have a strong dialogue with the United States. But at the same time, we have our own agenda and our own interests,” he said.
Michelle said that there are two planned summits in Europe and China in 2020, including a rare party that will be attended by representatives of all EU member states. He said that he hopes to make rapid progress in trade and investment with China at these gatherings. He said Europe and China should agree on a way to deal with climate change. In addition, Europe should take advantage of this opportunity to improve market access for European companies in China.
“We want to stop being naive. If we open our market, we need to get a partner guarantee, and its market will open,” Michelle said.
The EU and China started negotiations on investment agreements in 2013, but differences of opinion on market access have led to limited progress.
“The new summit with 50 goals and 50 benefits projects with China is not what I want,” Michel said, stating that the year “will be a critical moment in EU-China relations.”