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Germany’s EU-China summit goes virtual

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The EU-China summit was set to be a geopolitical high point of Germany’s rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, with Chancellor Angela Merkel playing host. The eastern German city of Leipzig was to be the stage for the three-day summit, when Chinese President Xi Jinping would have met together with all 27 EU heads of state for the first time.

Germany’s government canceled the physical summit in June because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now only protesters are coming to Leipzig.

The summit is being held virtually and has been shortened to one day. Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will all be in attendance for Monday’s video conference with Xi.

Officials of EU member states are rethinking the bloc’s relationship with China as the country takes an increasingly aggressive foreign policy stance and tightens restrictions on expression domestically.

On the first page of a 2019 document laying out the bloc’s new strategy for dealing with China, the European Commission declined to identify China as either merely an EU partner in the fight against climate change or an economic competitor, but as a “systemic rival” that promotes “alternative models of governance.” The message was clear: China is trying to trying to establish its autocratic system of rule worldwide, as a competitor to EU-style democracy.

Read more via DW

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