Foreign Affairs

Xi Jinping’s visit to France: China and the EU ‘must remain partners’

May 2024
By Eleonore Para

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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in France on Sunday for a two-day visit on May 6 and 7 to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between France and China.

Opening a trilateral meeting at the Elysée Palace with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Xi Jinping called for a strengthening of his country’s “strategic coordination” with the EU. He said that “as two major world powers, China and the European Union should remain partners, pursue dialogue and cooperation, deepen strategic communication, strengthen strategic mutual trust, consolidate strategic consensus and carry out strategic coordination.”
Emmanuel Macron pointed out that “the future of our continent will very clearly also depend on our ability to continue to develop relations with China in a balanced way” and that there must be ‘fair rules for all’ in trade between Europe and China.

The European Union “will not hesitate to take firm decisions” if necessary to “protect its economy and security”, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after her meeting with the Chinese and French presidents. Von der Leyen also made it clear that Europe could not accept unfair trade caused by the influx of Chinese electric vehicles or steel manufactured with massive subsidies. She added that “for trade to be fair, access to each other’s markets must also be reciprocal.”

Emmanuel Macron added that ‘coordination’ with Beijing on the ‘major crises’ in Ukraine and the Middle East was ‘absolutely decisive’.

On the war in Ukraine, the President of the European Commission said that the European Union and France were counting on China to ‘use all its influence on Russia’ to bring the war in Ukraine to an end.

Ursula von der Leyen and Emmanuel Macron also called on the Chinese President to make ‘greater efforts to limit the delivery to Russia of dual-use equipment – that can be used for both civilian and military purposes – that ends up on the battlefield’ in Ukraine.

Tomorrow the Chinese President will travel to the Pyrenees. He will then travel to Serbia and Hungary.