The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

I write at the end of a full week in Brussels, at work with the Union’s Foreign Ministers, with the heads of government at the European Council, and with some important partners.

We started the week with Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China – first for the EU-China Strategic Dialogue, then for a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Eight. It is the first time that a Chinese Foreign Minister meets with all his EU counterparts. This is the sign of how close our relationship is: China is a global power that we have some substantial disagreements with, it is at times a competitor, but it is also an essential partner cooperating with us on many issues that are crucial for global peace and security – from Iran to Korea. For this reason, we need a dialogue that is principled and pragmatic at the same time. Here is the press conference with Wang Yi.

I also discussed China with the EU heads of government, at the European Council on Thursday and Friday – this is what I told journalists ahead of the meeting. The Council was marked mostly by an important decision on the future of the United Kingdom – more details here. In the margins of the summit, I met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to agree on our support to Mozambique, which has just been hit by a devastating cyclone – our press point is here. As always, I took part in the pre-summit with Socialist leaders: this time, it was an opportunity to meet with the Italian Democratic Party’s new leader, Nicola Zingaretti, for the first time since his victory in our primary elections.

Last Monday, at the beginning of the Foreign Affairs Council, we reconfirmed our policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, five years after such violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of international law took place (here is the video). We then worked on the situation in Moldova and Yemen – here is the press conference, where I also discuss the work we are doing with the International Contact Group on Venezuela. Venezuela was also at the centre of my meeting with Mexico’s deputy Foreign Minister Julián Ventura, together with our bilateral relations.

On Tuesday, I chaired with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev the Association Council with North Macedonia – for the first time after the Prespa agreement between Athens and Skopje. Our goal remains to open as soon as possibile negotiations for North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, and we will continue to work with the Macedonian parties for this to happen. Press conference here.

Finally, another important meeting: on Wednesday I welcomed Lee Do-hoon, the Republic of Korea’s special representative for the peace process with North Korea.