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China and Russia measure the limits of EU power

Will Europeans end the 21st century being pushed by foreign powers? In Brussels, he often asserts that all EU powers are the only way to save the ancient continent from the catastrophic disaster. While no single European country can ally the United States or China, the EU together is one of the three largest economies in the world.

But the notion that the EU economy can easily be transformed into a geopolitical power is being monitored. Ukraine’s crisis has seen the EU set aside. Meanwhile China has set up an illegal economy punishments in Lithuania, a member of the EU – and Brussels is struggling to find a suitable solution.

If things do not go well in the EU in the coming weeks and months, discuss a Geopolitical “ Europe will sound so stupid. But it is also possible that the current crisis – especially the Lithuanian crisis – will make the EU stronger in defending its global interests.

The Ukraine crisis is a matter of war and peace on the European continent, so some EU officials are ashamed that they did not directly participate in the recent negotiations. Yet it should come as no surprise that Brussels was divided. The EU is not a military power and probably will not exist. And Ukraine is not a member of the EU.

Lithuania, by contrast, is one of the EU27. It is also embroiled in a trade dispute – and trade is one of the few regions the EU already has in the world. So Europeans have the privilege and responsibility to work together.

The Lithuanian government has been punished by China for promotion its alliance with Taiwan, an autonomous island of democracy that Beijing insists is a rebel state. Lithuania was already output of 17 + 1, a talk shop set up by Beijing.

In response, Beijing used the methods of Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuanian Foreign Minister, to compare in the “Spanish Inquisition”. (Locations available at Monty PythonLansbergis adds that “no one was waiting” for the Spanish Inquisition.)

China is not just banning all trade with Lithuania. It also bans all Lithuanian-manufactured goods, which causes a major headache for foreign investors in the country.

Beijing has chosen a smart approach. German retailers in Lithuania believe it is encouragement government to return, while elections show that the views of the Lithuanian people are turned against Taiwan group.

But Chinese policy also has risks that Beijing may not have considered. Looking at the EU’s marketing strategy, the Chinese are looking at the integrity of a single European market, which is at the heart of the EU economy and its goals. As Janka Oertel of the European Council on Foreign Relations states: “In furtherance of this problem, China has transformed this into a test for the EU as a whole.”

This is not just a story or a myth. Some Europeans fear that the next country in China will be the Czech Republic, where its government and politics have been. friendly in Taiwan. Czech factories play a major role in the EU market, so looking at Czech-produced segments could lead to turmoil in a single market.

Some European politicians secretly resent that Lithuania acted without consulting the rest of the EU. But the Lithuanians did not violate the EU policy of “one China”. And supporting democracy and the security of minorities should be a major priority of Europe.

EU officials promise help with agreement and Lithuania. The case may be taken to China from the World Trade Organization, but it may take years to resolve it. That’s why instead, the French, who currently have EU leadership, are watching speeding up establishment of laws prohibiting coercion. This could allow the EU to retaliate against coercive trade measures, from China or any other country, with a number of mechanisms that may include economic barriers to inflation.

The beauty of these weapons, as Brussels is concerned, is that they are commercial. Unlike foreign questions, which require cooperation, business decisions can be taken by a majority of votes. This means that Chinese allies within the EU – particularly Hungary and Greece – will not be able to prevent the enactment of laws banning forced or imports.

Reinhard Bütikofer, a prominent member of the European Parliament who has lived in private allowed and China, he believes, the Lithuanian crisis could lead to European progress in developing power. As he puts it: “The link between trade and foreign policy suddenly allows us to use the trade policy to better carry out foreign policy.”

But EU regulations are complex, which makes it doubtful whether anti-coercive weapons could be approved before the summer. At the time, Lithuania was forced to return.

For their own interests, Europeans need to stop this. If China threatens Lithuania well with the EU looking on indefinitely, the study will be known – not only in Beijing, but also in Moscow and Washington.

gideon.rachman@ft.com


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