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EU-China summit penciled in for December 7-8

EU-China summit penciled in for December 7-8

by host

BRUSSELS — The first EU-China summit in four years has been tentatively scheduled for December 7-8, an EU official said on Friday, as Thierry Breton became the latest senior commissioner to visit China to lay the ground for the meeting.

Those are the dates that both sides are working toward but they still need to be formally announced, the official said. A senior EU diplomat said that the dates of the get-together hosted by China were not yet fully final. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to go on the record.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a speech to EU ambassadors earlier this week, called for a “clear-eyed” approach to Beijing’s hardening global posture as she looked ahead to the summit

Her European Council counterpart, Charles Michel, will also attend, while Chinese Premier Li Qiang is expected to chair. Chinese President Xi Jinping will also meet the pair, according to an EU official with knowledge of the plans.

Breton, in a speech on the first day of his visit, chided Beijing’s tough line on access to its vast telecoms market, noting that the share of European 5G network equipment providers had fallen to single digits. He said it was “not acceptable that Ericsson and Nokia would be excluded on unclear criteria” from bidding for 5G contracts in China.

Those comments reflected broader concerns expressed by a roll call of European commissioners visiting China in recent months including vice presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Věra Jourová — who are responsible for trade and digital policy — over a lack of access to the Chinese market. The EU’s bilateral trade deficit in goods ballooned to nearly €400 billion last year.

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