On the occasion of the 22nd EU-China summit which took place via video conference, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang followed by exchanges with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
At the end of the meeting President Michel and President von der Leyen issued a joint press release setting out the direction for EU-China relations in a number of areas:
"Engaging and cooperating with China is both an opportunity and necessity. But, at the same time, we have to recognise that we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism. We will engage in a clear-eyed and confident way, robustly defending EU interests and standing firm on our values."
—— Remarks by President Charles Michel after the EU-China summit
The EU stressed the need for progress on the implementation of the commitments made at the 2019 EU-China Summit, including advancing negotiations for an EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement that ensures a level playing field and addresses asymmetries in market access
The EU expressed also its willingness to sign the EU-China Agreement on Geographical Indications in the coming weeks and see its entry into force in nearest future.
Leaders had a substantive discussion on climate change. China is the EU’s partner under the Paris Agreement, but needs to commit to decisive and ambitious domestic action to reduce emissions in the short term and to set a goal of climate neutrality at the earliest possible date.
The EU stressed that the development of new digital technologies must go hand in hand with the respect of fundamental rights and data protection. The EU also raised outstanding issues on cybersecurity, disinformation.
The EU called on China to assume greater responsibility in dealing with global challenges through the rules-based international system, promoting international peace and security, and adhering to international standards to support sustainable development, especially in Africa.
The EU underlined the shared responsibility to:
The EU and China discussed international issues such as Afghanistan,the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Iran and the implementation of the nuclear deal (JCPOA).
EU leaders also expressed their concerns at steps taken by China to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as on the deteriorating human rights situation, including the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, and of human rights defenders, as well as restrictions on fundamental freedoms
Finally the EU also underlined its expectation that the Human Rights Dialogue will take place in China later in the year once the COVID-19 restrictions are eased.