Jun 17, 2020 03:39 PM

Top EU Official Warns Against Europe Choosing Sides Amidst U.S.-China Tensions

What’s new: The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said in an article Sunday that the EU should not “choose sides” amid escalating U.S.-China tensions, but instead use the EU’s own interests and values as their “compass.”

Borrell called on the European block to go its own way, rather than ally with any side. “The European Way for sure includes working with (the) like-minded to keep the multilateral system as a space for cooperation, even if great powers use it increasingly as a battleground,” he said.

The EU hopes to form a “big, positive agenda for EU-China cooperation,” Borrell said. This includes concluding long-standing negotiations with China on a bilateral Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) “as soon as possible to end the current situation of asymmetric openness,” Borrell added.

The background: Caught in the middle of U.S.-China tensions, the 27-nation bloc has been at loggerheads on how to handle the relationships with the two major powers. Some member states have pushed for alignment with one side or the other, while others have argued for a policy of equidistance, the bloc’s top diplomat admitted in the article.

The article was published just a day before the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers held a videoconference with their U.S. counterpart Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, where little tangible agreements were reached. The EU leaders will also meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang online next week to discuss market access issues.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

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