Berlin: – German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned ‘If China intends to sign an investment treaty with Europe, cooperation is expected. European companies are still facing hurdles while entering the Chinese market. If China does not open up its markets for European companies, even in the future, the Chinese rulers should remember that their companies will not be allowed in the European market.’ While Merkel was issuing this warning, it is reported that the European Union agreed on imposing sanctions on Huawei, the leading Chinese Company, in the 5G sector. Therefore, the void between Europe and China seems to be set to widen, in the times to come.
Differences, over the Chinese issue, between the United States and Europe had surfaced time and again. But the situation started changing after the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and displeasure is intensifying against China, even in Europe. The main reasons for the European displeasure are the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic by China and the decisions taken regarding Hongkong and Uyghur people. China ignored warnings and even appeals, made by the European Union, regarding bilateral relations. Against this background, the head of the leading European country like Germany, lashing out at China, becomes significant.
This is the second lashing of China, by Chancellor Merkel, in the last five days. A few days ago, the German Chancellor, during her speech in the German Bundestag, slammed China over the issues of Hongkong and Uyghurs. Merkel had warned ‘There is intense displeasure, in Germany, over the developments in Hongkong. Consistent violation of One Country Two Systems principle is a cause for concern. It is also being revealed at the same time, that the minorities are treated cruelly and badly in China. These issues will feature prominently during the discussions with China.’ The Presidency of the European Union is currently with Germany and a German leader has been elected as the President of the European Commission. Therefore, the German stand will be important in the policies and decisions of the European Union. In the past, Germany had taken the lead, in opening the European markets for China and strengthening the ties between Europe and China. Therefore, Chancellor Merkel’s statements expressing displeasure against China, become noteworthy.
While the German Chancellor is lambasting China, it is revealed that even the European Union has become aggressive. It has been revealed that it was decided to stop the Chinese companies in the 5G sector, during an important meeting, held recently. The European Union clarified in its statement ‘The framework for cybersecurity-related to the 5G sector had been issued in January. Using the provisions contained in that, the European countries will be able to impose sanctions, against the companies posing a threat, while implementing the sensitive 5G technology.’ At the same time, it also notes that the criteria for all the companies, providing 5G technology in the European countries, in the future, will be same. Only a few days ago, the European Union indicated supporting the ‘Clean Network’ campaign, announced by the United States, for the technology sector. The United States started the Clean Network campaign to dismantle the domination of the Chinese companies in the technology and mobile communications sectors.
Leading European countries, the United Kingdom and France have taken major decisions to stop the entry of Chinese companies in the 5G sector. Whereas, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia have signed agreements, to join the campaign started by the United States. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had issued a stern warning to Italy, over the use of Chinese 5G technology. After that, even Italy had assured that the US concerns will be given due consideration. Given all this, the statement of the German Chancellor, regarding China and the stand taken by the European Union, against China, in the 5G sector, comes as a major jolt to China.