11th Dec 2023


Keeping China at arm's length is in focus This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel at a previous summit with Chinese leaders (Photo:
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You may be still reeling from the hangover, after the grand final of the Eurovision song contest on Saturday night, but politics does not stop happening.

Eyes of politicians and policy-makers will turn to Japan this week, where G7 leaders will gather on Friday and Saturday (19-20 May).

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It comes after one of the most important elections this year took place on Sunday, as voters in Turkey cast their ballot in a presidential election.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main challenger to Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, last week accused Moscow of interfering with the Turkish election.

Ahead of the G7 meeting, in a rare joint press conference European Council president Charles Michel and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are set to speak with Brussels-based journalists on Monday (15 May).

The G7 aims to send a signal to China by announcing a joint effort to counter "economic coercion," with the EU hoping to avoid becoming a "vassal" in a US-China clash, as French president Emmanuel Macron said recently.

Last week, EU foreign ministers discussed a policy paper on Beijing which warned that "critical dependencies" on China "leave us vulnerable to weaponisation and coercion" in high-tech areas such as renewable-energy and communication technologies, vaccines, and raw materials.

Japan, the host of the G7 meeting this time, has been spearheading new efforts to diversify supply chains away from China, by building partnerships with low- and middle-income countries through investment and aid.

Back in Brussels, EU finance and economic ministers are set to meet on Monday and Tuesday (15 and 16 May).

They are expected to discuss the EU Commission's spring economic forecast. They are also likely to talk about the progress on the digital euro and the banking union.

Talks will continue among EU diplomats on the new Russia sanctions proposal, which aim at stopping Moscow circumventing sanctions by using neighbouring countries.

But there are worries that the sanctions efforts would push these countries closer to Moscow. The EU's proposals would impact states in Central Asia such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

US-China economic rivalry leaves EU squeezed, ECB worried

While European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde warned that increasing rivalry between the US and China will add to inflation and slow growth, top EU officials in the European Parliament insisted on Europe's need to carve out its own place.

EU-China summit and migration files in focus This WEEK

This week, EU and Chinese leaders will meet in Beijing to discuss how to cooperate in the international area despite their rivalry. Meanwhile, a marathon trilogue on the five migration files takes place on Thursday.

EU's 'do no harm' Libya policy hit by militia revelations

The European Commission's self-declared policy of not doing any harm in Libya appears increasingly strained, following reports Frontex collaborated with the Tariq Bin Zeyad Brigade — a Libyan militia with ties to the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

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