France’s Emmanuel Macron will host Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as the leaders of Germany and the European Union's executive arm at a meeting Tuesday March 26th.
According to Reuters, the meeting will see discussions of multilateral relations between Europe and China including those on trade and climate, a French presidency official said. This will highlight France’s expression of the need to recalibrate a more coordinated EU approach to China.
The meeting comes at a time when the EU is weighing up a more defensive strategy on China, spurred on by China's slowness to open up its economy, the growth in Chinese takeovers in critical sectors in Europe, and a feeling in European capitals that Beijing has not stood up for free trade. "This meeting is a first step," the Elysee official said, adding that the meeting would help lay the groundwork for concrete results at a forthcoming EU-China summit on April 9.
Macron, arriving at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday March 21st, spoke of a "European awakening" that China is seeking to produce sophisticated products that will compete with those made in Europe. “
"Since the beginning of my mandate I've been calling for a real awareness and for the defence of European sovereignty," Macron told reporters.