Main criticism of the EU and China: German companies act as “lobbyists” for Beijing
The head of the European Parliament’s first official delegation to Taiwan said the EU is slowly realizing the threat posed by the Chinese government, but is being held back by companies, especially in Germany, who are acting like ” lobbyists “for Beijing.
Driving the news: Raphaël Glucksmann, a French human rights activist who quickly became one of Europe’s most influential voices on China, told Axios in a broad interview that he sought to “break the taboo within European institutions On the engagement with Taiwan.
- Glucksmann, 42, dismissed the idea that this month’s visit – which drew a severe warning from Beijing – was a “provocation,” and argued that stronger EU support for Taiwanese democracy will actually deter China from launching an invasion.
- “We should not be terrorized and paralyzed by fear of the reactions of authoritarian regimes to our policies,” Glucksmann stressed.
Go back: Glucksmann and four fellow European parliamentarians were put on Beijing’s sanctions blacklist in March for their advocacy against the genocide in Xinjiang.
- He told Axios that as a human rights activist he considered it a “medal of honor” to be sanctioned by “the world’s worst human rights violator”.
- In response to the sanctions, the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to freeze the ratification of a major EU-China investment deal.
- Glucksmann says this has been a turning point for the EU’s relations with China, and there is “no way” the deal will ever come through. He is pushing for the EU to improve its trade relations with Taiwan for him.
In the interview, Glucksmann has warned that if the EU executive branch wants to be “shit in Taiwan”, the European Parliament will hold it responsible by refusing to ratify other trade priorities.
- Glucksmann says a major obstacle to stronger European action on China is Germany, where political leaders dating from the 1990s bet big on economic ties with China and where companies like Volkswagen are acting as “ambassadors of Chinese interests”.
- Negotiations on the form of the next German government are currently underway. Glucksmann hopes that the presence of the Greens in the governing coalition will push Germany to adopt a “more principled approach” towards China.
What to watch: Glucksmann said the EU’s response to the Chinese challenge will be a “litmus test” of whether the bloc can be an independent “adult player” from the United States: “If we fail to be stronger in our relations with China, then that means Europe will remain weak forever. “
Go further: Critics of China in Europe embrace Taiwan