European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel together with French President Emmanuel Macron during his trip to China early next month.
Speaking at a press conference following an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Macron said he had “suggested to von der Leyen that she accompany him to China” on April 4 so they could speak “with a unified voice.”
“I don’t have a European mandate, as France has its independent diplomacy — but I’m attached to European coordination,” he added.
Macron said von der Leyen, who leads the EU’s executive, would join him — just as then-Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker had, when the French president and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in Paris in 2019.
A Commission spokesperson confirmed that von der Leyen be with Macron on his trip — marking the EU chief’s first journey to Beijing as Commission president.
Ahead of her China excursion, von der Leyen will give a speech on EU-China relations next Thursday in Brussels. The journey will follow a visit to Beijing by European Council President Charles Michel in November.
The French president also noted he had discussed the rendezvous with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, saying the two shared “a common vision.” That vision: “Engage with China in order to put pressure on Russia.”
“[We need] to do everything to stop the conflict, with respect with international law, including territorial sovereignty,” he said.
This week, the Chinese leader visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow — a move that worried EU leaders at the summit. In addition to Macron’s upcoming trip, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said during the summit that he will also soon travel to China.