At the head of the EU Council, the Chancellor of Germany will focus on relations with China – a country that claims to world leadership. Russia has for Berlin is only of secondary importance.
Pandemic COVID-19 attracted more attention of German politicians to the role of China not only because of the coronavirus – Chinese origin, but because of the growing awareness of the fact that without China – anywhere that Beijing, not Washington and not Moscow, is becoming a major centre of global influence.
And that relations with China German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel) decided to put at the forefront of the foreign policy of the European Union, the presidency of which in the second half moving from Croatia to Germany. Relations with Russia, about which she speaks all the more critically, among the foreign policy priorities of the German Chancellor not applicable.
The political will of the Chancellor
Upcoming from July 1 the EU presidency – apparently one of the last major political projects of Angela Merkel, who decided not to run for Chancellor in elections next autumn. Therefore, the European Union proposed a new agenda is possible in some sense to assume that the political will or the wishes of the Chancellor of the Europeans.
“Relations with China are the foreign policy priorities of our presidency of the Council of the European Union,” said Merkel, presenting the evening, may 27, his vision of the agenda of the EU in videovystuplenie at the conference in close to the German conservatives Fund named after Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, KAS). The EU, she said, is “a great strategic interest to actively build relations with China, one of the main actors of this century”.
So I think China and many Russian politicians and experts. Russian participants took place on may 25 in online mode “Potsdam meetings”, for example, also called China one of the poles of the bipolar world in which the second center of influence is the United States. Director of IMEMO, academician Alexander Dynkin, however, believes that the US and China will be stronger than the other countries weakened by the world crisis caused by the pandemic coronavirus.
A civilization history of 5000 years
Have Angela Merkel in this respect a different opinion. She believes that the coronavirus will undermine the position of China on the world stage, rather the opposite. Speaking in KAS, Merkel said that in her conversations with the representatives of China are surprised when they learn that everything in the world is talking about the rise of their country and increase its international role.
“In their own perception, she explained, – this ancient civilization with five thousand years of history only returns to the Central position of the world stage, which it occupied for many centuries.” And Europeans, said the Chancellor should not merely develop trade and economic relations with that country and to support the Protocol contacts, but also to consider, with “a determination that the China’s claim to a leading role in the existing international architecture.”
Who can be a counterweight to Beijing? To become the second pole in the world? Angela Merkel made it clear that no other country alone can’t. And even a United Europe need a partner in the United States, like the United States and Europe.
The Chancellor recognises that “cooperation with America is now more difficult than we would have wished”. But no alternative from her point of view, no, “transatlantic relations and cooperation and Alliance with USA and NATO has been and will remain a Central load-bearing pillar of our foreign and security policy”. And, she added, the dependence of Europe and America mutual: only together they can confront international challenges and ensure peace and stability in the world.
The format of “17+1” – the political project of Beijing
The role of China was also the main topic of discussion in KAS online speech Merkel. Huotari Mikko (Mikko Huotari), Director of the German Institute MERICS involved in the study of China, drew attention to attempts by Beijing to split the transatlantic relationship and to divide the Europeans. Therefore, he believes absolutely right, as Merkel puts the foreign policy priorities of the European Union. “China is not on Europe’s doorstep, he’s already here,” – said the expert.
The Ambassador of France in Germany Anne-Marie Deskot called China is both a partner and competitor to Europe, to compete with which alone wouldn’t be able to. In this regard, she recalled being made in recent years, attempts of Beijing to act in Europe in circumvention of Brussels. This refers to the so called “17+1” where “1” is China and “17” – a number of countries in Eastern and Central Europe, both within and outside the EU.
Deputy Chairman of the conservatives in the Bundestag Johan Wadephul (Jochann Wadephul) called this format is a serious obstacle for a coherent EU policy in relations with China.
With Russia – not a partnership, but only peaceful coexistence
It is noteworthy that none of the participants in the KAS did not name Russia among the countries, a partnership which could help the EU to compete with China on the world stage. About Russia, they are generally never mentioned. And Chancellor Angela Merkel?
Europe, she said in her speech, not a neutral, Europe – part of the political West, and this circumstance determines the nature of relations with Russia. There are different reasons to try to have a relationship with her. Among them Merkel called geographical proximity, shared history, the interaction in solution of some international problems, economic relations, but not the establishment of a General counterweight to China.
In relations with Russia Merkel puts quite a modest goal – not even a partnership, but only peaceful coexistence. Dialogue with Moscow, she tries to lead a “critical-constructive”. Critical because Russia, according to the Chancellor, has repeatedly violated international law, the provisions of the Helsinki Final act and the European Convention on human rights.
“Russia has created in the immediate vicinity of a zone of unresolved conflict and in violation of international law annexed the Ukrainian Peninsula of Crimea, – said Merkel. – It supports puppet regimes in some regions of Eastern Ukraine and attacks with the use of hybrid media in Western democracies, including Germany.”
So Russia, said the Chancellor, will occupy the attention of the German presidency of the EU to the extent that Berlin considers it necessary every time to pay attention to fundamental violations of international law.