An attempt to show the EU’s unity in relations with China – Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing

From April 5-8, 2023, world’s media focused on Beijing, where French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with senior officials from the People’s Republic of China, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang. Given the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and rising tensions in Sino-American relations, this state visit was thought-provoking. What were the main goals, issues, and outcomes of the visit? I will try to answer these and other questions in this blog.

EU-China Relations and Europe’s Strategic autonomy

No to decoupling, yes to de-risking

Russia-Ukraine War

Taiwan issue

Other important results of the visit


In conclusion, we can say that the joint visit of Macron and Leyen to China was an attempt by European leaders to show their unity with regard to the EU’s foreign policy towards Beijing. It is true that on some issues, Macron acted more like a “good cop”, while Ursula chose a “bad cop” stance and at times criticized Chinese policy on several issues, including Taiwan and human rights in the Xinjiang region. However, the two EU leaders did manage to agree on two key messages: On the Russia-Ukraine war, they told President Xi that arming Russia would significantly damage EU-China relations and China should be actively involved in ending the war. Regarding EU-China relations, their message was that the EU does not follow the U.S. strategy of “decoupling” and prefers to “de-risk” from China. Time will tell if this strategy is effective or not.

Giorgi Khachidze Author of the Blog, Intern, Civic IDEA

Scroll to Top