‘Desperate’ Merkel departure to have ‘major impact’ as EU wakes up to China threat – MEP

Merkel departure would have ‘major impact’ on EU says Butikofer

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Angela Merkel has been blasted for having “lost contact” with the “dire reality” that is China’s growing threat to European Union interests. European Green Party MEP Reinhard Bütikofer has argued that Ms Merkel’s departure as German Chancellor is likely to have a “major impact” on how Brussels handles Beijing. He argued that the German leader has long resisted an EU-wide approach that recognises Xi Jinping’s regime as a systemic rival.

Mr Bütikofer told Express.co.uk: “I think the departure of Mrs Merkel will have a major impact for the EU’s China relationship.

“Merkel is the one European leader who has resisted the analysis that we have to consider China and deal with China as a systemic rival.

“She has desperately tried to hold onto the win-win approach that is out of sync with the times

“She has lost contact with the dire reality.”

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The European Green Party MEP continued: “A few years ago Merkel was indeed a very good leader in relations with China.

“She dared speaking up about human rights when others didn’t.

“So I admire her for a time but she is now clearly behind the curb.

“And European China policy cannot be dictated from a single or just two capitals.”

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It comes as Ms Merkel was called out over plans to have President Emmanuel Macron inherit the German leader’s pivot role in shaping EU-China relations.

Mr Bütikofer has argued that Ms Merkel is unlikely to get her wish of stepping down as Chancellor after Germany’s national elections in September.

He argued that President Macron is unlikely to continue the Merkel-era playbook on China, especially around the contentious issue of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

Macron, Merkel, and Xi Jinping had hosted a summit earlier week to discuss EU-China relations.

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The German MEP told Express.co.uk: “Merkel is trying to present Macron to the Chinese leadership as the one leader that will inherit her role with China.

“I don’t even think Macron is going to play the same kind of role that Merkel played.

“He has been seen carrying water on either shoulder so he knows quite well that the CAI is not at all popular in France.

“I don’t think he wants to put this millstone around his own neck rather for the next Presidential Election, he has been criticised from the right and the left.”

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