French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial visit to China earlier this month sparked widespread criticism on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, as the clamor dies down, two important questions remain that cannot easily be explained away: When it comes to China, who speaks for Europe? And where is European policy on China heading?
Observers across Europe reacted furiously to remarks French President Emmanuel Macron made last week imploring Europe not to behave like “vassals” of the U.S., amid its intensifying geopolitical competition with China. But the reaction by European capitals to Macron’s statements are more revealing than his original remarks.
French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a three-day state visit to China last week, during which the war in Ukraine, Europe’s ties with Beijing and trade between France and China topped his agenda. But Macron’s messaging during the trip was confusing and raised questions about his vision of European strategic autonomy.