Since the Coronavirus Pandemic gripped the world, no one wants to deal with China for the irresponsible hegemon that it has become. At least, the free world doesn’t want to talk or negotiate with Beijing. But there is one bloc- the European Union that wants to strengthen its ties with China despite its irresponsible handling and cover-up of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As per latest reports, a summit was supposed to be held between the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the 27 European Union (EU) leaders, hosted by the de facto EU head, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Leipzig, Germany in September. The summit now stands “rescheduled”, though not cancelled, in view of the prevailing COVID situation. However, Chinese state media has reported that EU is engaging in talks with China for finalising an investment treaty.
CCP mouthpiece, Global Times, has reported, “The 10th round of China-EU high level strategic dialogue was held on Tuesday where the two sides discussed bilateral relations and matters of shared interest, which analysts believe will pave the way for the China-EU Summit and an investment treaty.”
Xinhua News, another Chinese state media agency has reported that the European Union and their 10th round of high-level strategic dialogue on Tuesday via video link. The high-level dialogue was co-chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.
EU is saving the day for Beijing at a time when it is facing a relentless global backlash. It is rather egregious on part of this intergovernmental bloc to engage China in trade talks and hold high-level meetings with Beijing instead of standing up to the country’s high-handed approach in world affairs.
EU has emerged as a spineless intergovernmental organisation playing mind-bending games for quite some time that has weakened the democratic world’s battle against autocratic Communist regime in China.
By going soft on China, the EU is making leaders like the US President Donald Trump and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who have put a lot at stake in order to punish China, look bad.
And all this while the European Union member countries are themselves some of the worst-hit countries in terms of the Coronavirus Pandemic. More than one lakh people have died in the EU member states, and the European Continent had become the first epicentre of the Pandemic after China.
We know for a fact that it was Beijing which hid the Pandemic for far too long. The virus had emerged in November 2019 itself but till January 24 it kept claiming that there was no human-to-human transmission. China also used its corrupt influence in the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that European countries did not impose travel ban on China.
China-WHO collusion tricked Europe into allowing incoming passenger traffic from the country of Coronavirus origin, and this is why millions got infected and lakhs died in Europe.
In the succeeding months, the European Union has failed to stand up for its own member countries. It almost seems that the EU is more interested in doing good PR for Beijing rather than safeguarding the interests of its own Member-states.
In the past few months, the EU has succumbed to Chinese influence again and again. First, it dialled down a report about China’s state-backed “disinformation campaign”. Then it allowed the Chinese state media to censor an op-ed co-authored and co-signed by all European Union Ambassadors to China. Here, the Chinese media removed a reference to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Last month, 100 countries rallied behind each other to draft a resolution in the 73rd World Health Assembly to review the response of the World Health Organisation in order to draw lessons from it. EU authored it, and Australia backed it. It seemed as if China was on the back foot. But EU fooled the whole world and embarrassed Canberra by making no mention of Wuhan or China.
The European Union is backing China not only in terms of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but also in terms of the Dragon’s hawkish military attitude.
China has been behaving belligerently in the South China Sea and elsewhere, which prompted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to say, “The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power … Multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life.”
But the European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell says, “China has a global ambition but at the same time I don’t think that China is playing a role that can threaten the world peace.”
In fact, the top-level EU diplomat keeps saving the day for China again and again. Recently, on the question of Hong Kong, he said, “I don’t think that sanctions are the way to solve problems in China.”
It seems that the EU is in self-destruction mode, as the German Chancellor and de facto EU head, Angela Merkel keeps playing into the hands of Beijing. EU members like Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden and France have spoken against Chinese aggression, but the EU keeps downplaying such voices.
What the Coronavirus Pandemic has also triggered is an economic recession apart from deaths. EU countries like Spain and France are the worst-hit. But EU hasn’t helped them and leaders like Germany which are economically better off have refused Corona bonds.
The EU is supposed to fend for itself by creating a massive 18 trillion-dollar bloc. But by refusing to help out Italy, the EU is only vindicating the Brexit and encouraging an Itaxit. The top leadership is allowing the EU to disintegrate and collapse which would ultimately allow China to fill the vacuum in countries like Italy that are troubled by the Coronavirus-induced slowdown.
The top leadership of EU should have ideally stood up against China when the US was getting gripped by the Coronavirus Pandemic and Europe was coming out of it. But the EU has deliberately refused to take a clear-cut China policy. The EU leadership has given way to a divided bloc and China hasn’t hesitated to make the most out of it. If the EU has to collapse anyway, the member countries may as well form different blocs according to their needs instead of allowing Beijing to take control of the European Continent.