1 Comment

Regarding the Chinese government getting ‘defensive’ during the EU’s global fundraising event for Covid-19 treatment and vaccines, I wonder if that lukewarm attitude and the last-minute pull-out of Li Keqiang was about geopolitics. Some continental papers saw the event as the EU trying to take the lead in the global effort against the pandemic, a position Beijing would loathe to yield.

This event might be seen by the Chinese government in light of the current European Commission’s professed aim for a more geopolitical EU. Brussels’ initial response to Covid-19 neglected Europe to focus on Africa and other weaker countries. Neglecting the Member States has proven a disastrous mistake, but now that the outbreak is getting under control at home, a focus on Africa is now returning in Brussels. We should see this in the context of Europe trying to intensify its strategic links to Africa as well as the realisation that it needs to prevent chaos there to stem the refugee flow. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s first official overseas trip was to Ethiopia and the AU headquarters. Could it be that China does feel some competition for its role in Africa?

Expand full comment