EU warned to get its story straight on China, amid ‘divide and conquer’ fears

  • After three weeks of “cacophonous” debate on China, the European Union has been warned to get its story straight – or Beijing will “have us for lunch”.
  • Diplomats and officials are fretting that an extended bout of public bickering on how to deal with the world’s No 2 economy has exposed deep divisions among the member states and institutions.
  • That the bloc does not fully agree on a common approach to China is no surprise – these are 27 separate countries, often with competing interests. But it is rare for the fight to be so sustained, and so public.
  • Political leaders have clashed over how to trade with China and how much to collaborate with the United States on issues related to Beijing.
  • They are divided on whether the EU should continue seeking China’s help to end the war in Ukraine. A major storm erupted, meanwhile, over the EU’s policy towards Taiwan after French President Emmanuel Macron intimated in a media interview that Europe should not follow US strategy on the island.
  • When its foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg on 24 Apr, they will take the very initial steps to brokering a consensus – even if few expect the bloc to agree on a coherent, single voice any time soon.

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