mandag 15. april 2019

Before a joint statement, a threat: EU diplomats nearly walked out of talks with China

Two days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang boarded the flight from Beijing for Brussels to attend Tuesday’s annual summit with European Union leaders, his team of diplomats was desperate. They were struggling to get their EU counterparts back to the table to agree on a joint statement to be released at the end of the meeting between Li and the two EU leaders: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.

The two sides were able to draft a joint statement at the last minute, but not before European negotiators initially threatened to walk out from the discussions about it without knowing what reforms and, crucially, what timetables for their implementation Li would present.