April 4, 2019

China Is Making It to Europe from the South

Roman Kot

Despite the fact that the European Union remains one of the largest economic powers in the world, politically, European states failed to develop a single entity that would allow them to respond collectively to external or internal challenges. As a result, the EU is forced to step back and focus on one of two global powers: China or the United States.

Traditionally, the established cooperation with the United States, especially within the framework of NATO, for a long time allowed Europe, under security umbrella, to care about the economy, not the army. At the same time, the growing disagreements between NATO members on both sides of the Atlantics makes some countries of the European Union (even contrary to the official position of the EU) diversify political and economic risks, including by reorienting to China.

It is in this context that the tour of the Chinese delegation headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Italy, Monaco and France on March 21–26, should be considered.

This long tour shows that the Chinese side invariably sees the EU as an important strategic partner for cooperation, and China-European relations — as one of the key and priority directions for Chinese diplomacy, which also has its own reasons.

The Chinese leadership's attention to Italy is not accidental either: Italy, a powerful European player, nevertheless, is in a state of latent conflict with Brussels. In the long run, this trend leads to a split among the EU member states and the weakening of the EU as an institution, which, in turn, creates a potential additional danger for Ukraine, which once again may be left one-on-one with Russia.

The article is available in Ukrainian