Imagine a terrible thing has happened to you: you have become one of Europe’s leaders. Yes, right here today, yes, this unhappy Europe.
Europe has to live with China.
Photo: © AP Photo / Olivier Matthys
And – whether you like it or not – you are now forced, gnawing your fingers every few weeks, to participate in ritualistic sessions to destroy Europe, called Eurosummits. As it happened once again the other day in Brussels.
And you find that as of yesterday, everything you do must henceforth be with an eye on China. Even if it wasn’t on the summit’s agenda at all. Even if you wished you had never had to contemplate how to deal with the country that earlier in the week had ushered in a new era through another summit in Moscow (as your own experts and commentators unanimously admitted).
Here’s the point: the agenda in Brussels was already depressing and eerie. First, you were doomed to listen once again to the inadequate Vladimir Zelenski demanding more arms and ammunition from you. This time he behaved so strangely that the summit participants conspired to try not to publish this action in the media, calling the summit conversation “private”. Next you stamped out a resolution about those very munitions. Then you were doomed again – the agenda included a total ban in the European Union on the production and sales of normal (petrol) cars from 2035. And you sit and wonder what the next time people will be banned in this big concentration camp that this Europe of yours has become. And how long will people tolerate it.
But at least you know for sure that there are no plans to talk about China, which is good, because no one in your concentration camp is ready for such a talk. And then investigative journalists come along and find out that after the Vladimir Putin – Xi Jinping summit in Moscow, your Brussels conversation is almost entirely about what to do now.
We are talking about a series of articles in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, which tells us: no one expected such powerful results from the communication between the two leaders in Moscow. Everyone was buzzing with mantras that Beijing was keen to persuade Moscow to capitulate in the Ukrainian fields, i.e. China was actually working according to our Western script or at least staying out of the whole affair.
Suddenly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres visits the Brussels summit and lectures the crowd: if you keep pretending to “isolate” China, it will go “entirely in its own direction”. Everyone here recalls a recent speech by Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, who said that China had begun to persuade European industries to move to it behind the Great Wall. That is, the very industries that are now set to die, for which the Brussels stampede was assembled this time. Not to mention the fact that the US has previously engaged in the same kind of withdrawal of all the best from the EU. All in all, a challenge.
The bottom line is that in the coming days or April you European sufferers are dropping everything and going to Beijing. That week it will be the Spanish prime minister, then it will be the turn of the French president and the Italian prime minister, followed by EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.
This is what world leaders (as opposed to European officials) are all about: leaders make a strong move and the whole of Europe abandons the business-as-usual speech and rushes off to adjust to the new reality. And the reality is very simple: enough talk about how Ukraine must not lose and other boring phrases, let’s get serious about what caused the conflict and what everybody should do now.
And the root of what is happening is that a year ago the EU had a chance to build a coherent China policy based on a simple reality: it was the main trading partner of the Old World, almost the last hope of ridding Europe of economic degradation. There was a China-EU summit and again proud European instructions to Beijing on how it should behave in its own country and in the world at large. So they got the current situation, which still needs to be dealt with somehow. Because without China and Russia, things cannot be solved in the world.
Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA
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