The Chinese president is visiting France to meet Emmanuel Macron then Angela Merkel, against a backdrop of European division against the diplomatico-commercial offensive of Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping begins Monday, March 25, 2019 the official part of his visit to France. Emmanuel Macron must receive him early afternoon in Paris, and enter to persuade him to play according to the rules of multilateralism poorly and while the Europeans are divided in the face of the diplomatic-commercial offensive in Beijing.
Global governance, trade rules, respect for the environment, investments … The Chinese titan is changing the face of the world by investing massively everywhere, especially in its “new silk roads”. Emmanuel Macron would like to frame this upheaval and find a common European position to face it.
First meeting on the French Riviera
“This visit will strengthen our strategic partnership and affirm the role of France, Europe and China in favor of a strong multilateralism,” tweeted Sunday evening the French president, after receiving his counterpart in Beaulieu-sur -Mer, on the French Riviera, where the two men had dinner with their wives in the private part of the visit.
Très heureux d’accueillir le Président XI Jinping et son épouse en France. Cette visite va renforcer notre partenariat stratégique et affirmer le rôle de la France, de l’Europe et de la Chine en faveur d’un multilatéralisme fort. pic.twitter.com/yFIEQxF4Ej
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) March 24, 2019
Arrived Sunday of Italy, Xi Jinping, after a hook by the principality of Monaco , spent the night in the prestigious hotel Negresco of Nice and will arrive in Paris at the beginning of the afternoon. He will be formally welcomed under the Arc de Triomphe by Emmanuel Macron around 2.30pm.
The visit will be an opportunity, as at each meeting, to sign commercial contracts or other cooperation agreements. The two heads of state should speak to the press in the late afternoon before a protocolary state dinner.
European side on Tuesday
But the most important part of this state visit will undoubtedly unfold Tuesday morning, when the two leaders will be joined at the Elysee Palace by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Indeed, in the global panorama, between a China with huge ambitions and a Donald Trump supporter of direct negotiations between countries, multilateralism is very badly in point.
The European Union, a gigantic and appetising market, has no clear political line against Beijing and some countries have already begun to yield to Chinese proposals.
For several years now, Beijing has been working on the Central European countries in the 16 + 1 format. China has also invested in several strategic assets of member countries, such as the port of Piraeus in Greece, or the Portuguese electricity supplier.
But it continues to grow in power and has just joined a founding country of the Union, Italy, to its project of maritime and terrestrial infrastructure of the “new silk routes”. The Italian government signed agreements on Friday that provide for example Chinese investments in the ports of Genoa and Trieste.
An opening to China that worries some European leaders, critical of the Italian populist government.
German Commissioner Gunther Oettinger says “with concern that in Italy and other European countries, strategically important infrastructure such as electricity grids, high-speed rail lines or ports are no longer in European but Chinese hands “.
“Europe urgently needs a strategy for China, a strategy worthy of the name,” he added.
Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called for an “awareness and defense of European sovereignty” against Beijing, described by the European Commission as “systemic rival”.
“In a world with giants like China, Russia or our partners like the United States, we can only survive if we are united as a European Union,” the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag told the minister German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
“If some countries believe they can do good business with the Chinese, they will be surprised when they realize they have become addicted,” he said, noting that “China is not a liberal democracy.” in reference to the Chinese Communist regime, whose human rights abuses are denounced regularly by many NGOs.
It is this united European position that the French president will seek to find with Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, without it being certain that they can convince the other member countries to follow them.