EU shouldn't be 'naive' but avoid 'confrontation' with China, says EU Council head

EU leaders summit concludes with discussion on relations with China, aid to Ukraine.

EU shouldn't be 'naive' but avoid 'confrontation' with China, says EU Council head

The EU should not be “naive” about China, but also avoid “systematic confrontation,” the European Council president said Friday.

Speaking at a press conference after the second day of the summit in Brussels, Charles Michel said the EU leader’s discussion showed “a very clear will to avoid being naive, but neither did we want to embark in systematic confrontation.”

“We have our own model to develop, to build, to model and form relations with China,” he added.

Michel said there is a “great consensus” among the European leaders on the importance of “truly developing strategic autonomy” as well as diversifying partnerships with the rest of the world.

Also addressing the press conference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that China is “continuing a mission to establish its dominance in East Asia and its influence globally.”

Recalling that Moscow and Beijing announced a "no limits" partnership in February, shortly before the Russian war on Ukraine, she said these developments “will affect the EU-China relationship.”

“Obviously, we have to be very vigilant when it comes to dependencies, and we've learned our lesson,” she added.

Support to Ukraine

The European Commission head welcomed the “unanimity and broad support” for the roadmap that was put forward during the summit to address the energy crisis, although EU leaders failed to reach an agreement on whether to put a ceiling price on natural gas.

Von der Leyen said the summit's focus on the second day was on Ukraine and China, while the leaders addressed the energy crisis on the first day.

She recalled their previous announcement that the EU leaders had agreed on €9 billion ($8.7 billion) in macro-financial assistance for Ukraine.

“Overall so far the European Union has supported Ukraine since the beginning of the year with by now €19 billion ($18.5 billion),” she said.

Adding that Ukraine needs around €3-4 billion per month “to have enough resources for the basics,” von der Leyen said this should be financed by the EU, the US and the financial institutions.

Therefore, the discussion was about €1.5 billion per month for Ukraine financed by the European Union,” she said. “So this will give overall a figure of (€)18 billion for the next year.”

Ukraine has other needs too that have to be addressed, von der Leyen said, adding that they were in close contact with Ukrainian authorities to restore their electricity, water supply and other essential services.

Hüseyin Demir

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