China and the European Union: Agreement on multilateralism, less on reciprocity

In Xi's last meeting in France, he met President Macron, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and 

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In the last meeting of his trip to Europe, Chinese President Xi Jinping met yesterday for over an hour with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Commission Jean -Claude Juncker.

The latter had been invited by Macron, as a sign of a common European Union position on China.

The four found themselves very much in agreement on the theme of multilateralism, that is of a world government in collaboration and concord between various actors (or poles), with criticism - even if not explicit - of the hegemonic and closed vision of the United States. But the three European leaders also stressed the importance of "reciprocity" in business and culture, which the Chinese leader does not seem to have understood.

In Xinhua's report, Xi Jinping called for "a vision of global governance" to be supported through "consultations, joint contributions", advancing "the democratization of the rules of global governance", which has its "flag in UN multilateralism ".

He also asked to reject the "Cold War mentality", strengthening "mutual trust" and pursuing a model of development that is "balanced and [brings] common benefits, so that the peoples of the world can share in the benefits of economic globalization."

Macron, Merkel and Juncker have praised multilateralism and proposed a revision of the rules of the World Trade Organization, but have also stressed that it is urgent "to respect" the needs of the EU. The new routes of silk - said Merkel - are "a very important project" and "we Europeans want to play a role in it, but this must lead to reciprocity and we have difficulty finding it".  Junker added: "I would like ... European companies to find the same degree of openness that Chinese companies find in Europe".

There is no mention of these requests in Xinhua reports.

During his visit to France, last March 25, Xi Jinping made a great gift to Macron, a strong critic of Italy, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative. The French president has obtained the signing of agreements for over 40 billion euros, including an order for 300 Airbus. According to analysts such as Steve Tsang of the SOAS China Institute in London, Beijing’s  "generosity" aims to increasingly divide the EU.