EU Still Split After China Discussion in Ivory Tower
May 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Nothing better epitomized the meaning of “ivory tower” than the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers near Stockholm yesterday, i.e., of a ruling class totally decoupled from their constituencies and the real world. They did, indeed, choose to meet in a tower, which was built out of bricks, in a 17th-century castle outside of the Swedish capital. Their talks were characterized by the absence of any device or means, such as smartphones, that could endanger the secrecy of their proceedings.
Something, however, did leak. It came out that EU countries are divided on the new anti-China paper presented by EU foreign policy representative Josep Borrell. In order to camouflage the split, he said that “The 27 are united behind the music of this text,” which is bad news already, given that the music is cacophonous.
But Euractiv reported that diplomats told it that there is a split among members on how to lay out the policy of “de-risking” with China. One diplomat said that there are “diametrically opposed positions between China hawks and ‘the usual suspects’ such as Hungary.” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis was in tune with Borrell. “It is desirable to hear the EU27 choir singing in unison, but on this China paper, it seems that we are still a few octaves apart,” said Landsbergis.
In statements to journalists, reported the Financial Times, Borrell stuck to the anti-China line of his non-paper. “We cannot have normal relations with China if China does not use the strong influence that China has on Russia in order to stop this war,” he said.
Borrell emphasized China’s status as a “rival” of the EU. Brussels and Beijing represent two “very different,” competing systems, engaged in a global “battle of narratives,” and a “battle of offers” to the world, he said.
“Our systems—our political and economic systems—are different, completely different. We are multi-party democracies; they are a single party. We are market economies, the Chinese economy is being driven by the state, so we are very different.... We are rivals, because we present our models to the rest of the world.”
He neglected to say that his model is failing, while the Chinese one is successful.