EU steps up criticism of China ahead of summit with premier Li Keqiang
Just a week before the annual EU-China summit, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has taken another swipe at China and what the EU says are unfair trade and investment practices.
In a speech to lawmakers in the German state of Saarland on Monday, April 1, Juncker said “it can’t stay like this, that Chinese companies have free access to our markets in Europe, but we don’t to the markets in China.”
He also said that Chinese investments in EU member states made it harder for the EU to agree on joint foreign policies. “One country isn’t able to condemn Chinese human rights policy because Chinese investors are involved in one of their ports,” Juncker said. “It can’t work like this.”
Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk will co-host the 21st annual summit with China on Tuesday, April 9, in Brussels. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will also attend. The Chinese delegation is led by premier Li Keqiang.
During the meeting, the EU wants to discuss trade and investment relations with its second-largest trading partner. Key EU demands include better access to the Chinese market, progress on WTO reform – including rules on industrial subsidies - and an acceleration of the negotiations of an EU-China investment agreement. The EU wants to reach a deal by 2020.
The security of 5G, the next generation mobile data networks, is also on the agenda. Amid a heated debate in Europe about the involvement of Chinese tech giant Huawei in building Europe’s 5G networks, the EU Commission last week issued recommendations to foster a common European approach. EU leaders and their Chinese guests are also expected to discuss global issues such as climate change, an area where close cooperation with China is considered crucial.