What Chinese Lithuanian bullying reveals about Europe

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WHEN EASTERN EUROPEAN The country you are trying to join EU In 2003, then-French President Jacques Chirac boldly declared that he “missed a good opportunity to shut up” in favor of the US invasion of Iraq. Their ferocious reaction suggested that they were thinking the same about him. Europe likes to emphasize its collective power, born of an unprecedentedly close coalition, including the joint ambitions and dreams of foreign policy. EU army. However, countries also want a license to pursue the diplomatic advancement of pets. While these policies can be sound (for example, against unlucky aggression in the Middle East), they can also drag the entire block into battle. If Europe wants geopolitical relevance, we cannot allow all members to contribute to their own crisis.

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The EU The foreign policy grande is now upset and divided about Ukraine. Russia and the United States seem to consider Europe a more convenient place to meet in a country conflict than to join as a partner, and French President Emmanuel Macron has expanded Europe’s autonomy this week. I have renewed my voice asking for. Germany is at odds with its partners on how to deal with Russia. Fortunately, due to the hard-to-find wink, spats from another superpower that hasn’t received much attention are being brewed. China is trying to curb the Lithuanian economy.Conflict hits the most populous country in the world EU21st largest member of. Lithuania is primarily referred to as “Taiwan,” rather than “Taiwan Representative Office,” as Taiwan (which China considers to be part of its territory), as China claims to do elsewhere. He has been punished for allowing the word to be used in the description of informal embassies.

Retaliation was swift. In a new form of bureaucratic assault, Lithuania suddenly disappeared as an option in China’s customs form, blocking all imports from Baltic minnows. This was certainly inconvenient, but it was only modest sympathy in the European capital. The support there was born of habits rather than beliefs. Personally, diplomats responded to Sirac: Lithuania was out of order and piped. Anyway, what did you think happened?other EU Countries have lived in Fudge, Taipei for decades.

Perhaps fortunately for Lithuania, China’s anger soon turned into a grotesque overreaction. The insult flew in the state media. In November, the Lithuanian embassy in Beijing was temporarily downgraded to a lower diplomatic position. The staff had to evacuate for fear of safety.It left a diplomat from others EU Countries (and perhaps beyond) are wondering if they will come next. Later, companies across Europe that only included Lithuanian parts in their exports to China were also subject to bureaucratic harassment. This could be felt or at least interpreted as an attack on Block’s proud single market. That inconvenience to German auto parts makers probably helped to attract the attention of politicians there and, by extension, politicians beyond that.

China’s short fuse, spats are a test case for a rule-based international order, and therefore the rest EU You need to be late. This is happening, even though I still have a deep-rooted enthusiasm.European Commission dealing with EUForeign trade enthusiastically summarizes cases where China violates its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization. This may (one day) produce the faint blush in Beijing.Boss EUJosep Borrell, the foreign policy organization of the United States, promised solidarity on January 14, and promised to settle things at the proposed European-China summit in March.

Large member countries have a diplomatic burden EUFrance is promoting a “anti-coercion” plan that hopes to stop bullies such as China. EU Minister. (The plan is not yet ready and has not been agreed.) The German minister visited Lithuania to express his support, but Germany’s new Prime Minister Olaf Scholz said China’s President Xi Jinping. Did not raise the issue on the phone of an acquaintance with. , During December.

No one can hear the EU screams

Many foreign policies involve responding to a crisis. But when these crises are triggered internally, Europe makes work even more difficult on its own. Currently, it is almost unfair to blame Lithuania for the partial headaches of its allies. The problem here is the horrifying reaction of China. Standing up for Taiwan is commendable.No doubt, a stronger defense of the place would be wise EU policy. Still, the way it had to be done, or not completely, is rarely a source of self-confidence. As long as European allies had to intervene, the decisions made by one member were virtually made on behalf of the whole, but they do not say. This is not a grand strategic plan.

Europe has the ambition to use limited means to encourage China to change its way. After a series of sanctions and counter-sanctions on human rights in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the investment agreements that both sides were working hard on were shelved last year. Careful diplomatic pushes and pulls are always working. But China, like other countries before that, finds it easy to divide Europe at a convenient time. Many Eastern European countries 10 years ago EUA unique structure known as “16 + 1” (Lithuania left last year and seems to be declining).It now looks like some countries are treating EU As just another club that helps them deepen their interest, hoping for solidarity when things go wrong.

Lithuania will survive the abrasion with the wrath of China. The container pulled away from the Chinese port was snapped by Taiwan, which has enough Lithuanian rum to last a lifetime. The Baltic states have been promised large investments by Taiwanese microchip companies. So it was piped and avoided catastrophe. Good news, it may feel. But it also reminds us of how difficult foreign policy is for a club of 27 people. ■■

Read more from Charlemagne, a columnist on European politics:
Europe’s energy crisis will cause the worst neurosis (January 15)
Big government revival casts doubt on Europe (January 8)
How European politicians began to think of themselves as Europeans
(January 1)

This article was published in the European section of the printed version under the heading “Noisy Union”.

What Chinese Lithuanian bullying reveals about Europe

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