OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Dangerous for EU to be dominated by US: EU MP
Published: May 13, 2021 03:12 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT





Editor's Note:
 

"In last 40 years China bombed nobody or isn't sanctioning any countries to death - Why is #EU allowing #US to drag us into confrontation with China?" This line was recently tweeted by Mick Wallace (Wallace), an incumbent member of the European Parliament from the south constituency of Ireland. He urged the EU to cooperate with China instead of taking an aggressive position with it. Why did he make such a call? What has the current EU's China policy gone wrong? What kind of relations should the bloc seek with China? Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui talked to Wallace over these issues. 

GT: In a video speech you recently posted on Twitter, you said you cannot help feeling that the EU is "being led along by the nose by the Americans" to confront China. Why did you express such concerns? The EU pursues strategic autonomy. But facing US pressure to jointly suppress China, can the EU maintain its strategic autonomy? 

Wallace:
You say Europe is pursuing strategic autonomy, but what Europe is doing, unfortunately, is being dominated by the US. The US has a problem with China. China is not a security threat to America or to the people of America, but China is a threat to America's financial supremacy. America has been the wealthiest country in the world, the largest economy in the world for a long time. But now, it would appear that China is capable of becoming the world's biggest economy and America obviously has a problem with that. And America wants to try and curtail the progress of China, the rise of China, and it is putting pressure on the EU to break some ties with China and to isolate China a bit more. But it's not in Europe's interest. It might be in America's interest, but it's not in Europe's interest. 

My point is that, unfortunately, the Europeans are allowing themselves to be dominated too much by the Americans. We should be independent of America. We shouldn't be taking orders from them. We shouldn't be influenced by them. We don't think they behave so well, they have no respect for international law. And we think that Europe needs to develop an independent policy. And it needs an independent policy in the dealings with China. 

GT: You called on the EU to change an aggressive position with China, to choose cooperation instead of aggression, and to respect the principle of state sovereignty and noninterference. Your views drew support from netizens on Twitter, but also sparked criticism from some MEPs, politicians and media persons. How do you respond to those criticisms?   

Wallace:
I have been used to criticism. When you try to speak truth, you can always expect to be criticized. If you try to speak the truth and say something different, you can always expect to be criticized. That doesn't matter. And I take it as a compliment. When people who I find neoliberal in the thinking, people who think that the interest of big business should be prioritized, criticize me, I take it as a compliment. 

GT: Europe's criticisms of China over the Xinjiang-related issue, following the lead of the US, have worsened China-Europe relations. Why do Western countries pay so much attention to China's human rights issues, instead of taking care of their own businesses, such as poverty and pandemic? 

Wallace:
I don't believe that everything is perfect in China. I don't believe everything is perfect anywhere. There are human rights issues in America, human rights issues in France, in Ireland, in China, in Russia, the human rights issues everywhere. And yes, when Europe criticizes China's human rights, there's hypocrisy to this. Why don't they criticize the human rights violations by Israel against the people of Palestine? Europe doesn't have a problem with this. If they're not going to treat everyone the same, it's not going to apply the same rules to everybody. Then their criticism of China has no value. 

GT: The US is attempting to build an anti-China alliance. Some analysts believe that it's not easy for the US to fulfill its purpose. For instance, different European countries have differences in developing relations with China. Many European countries once had a honeymoon period with China. Will the US attempt to rope in its European allies to form an anti-China alliance succeed? 

Wallace:
They may be succeeding on paper. But in reality, America is building alliances against China, will they be sustainable? I don't think so. I think common sense will eventually prevail. I think the next couple of years could be difficult. There's a lot of anti-China rhetoric, also in the European Parliament. It's very irrational and not very intelligent, but we still have to deal with this. Although the next year or two could be difficult, I do think the common sense will win in the end. And I do think that Europe will build a healthy relationship with China.

GT: Is it time for Europe to reflect on how to get along with China? What kind of relationship should EU seek with China to serve the EU's best interests? 

Wallace:
I believe that Europe should work for a peaceful relationship with everybody. I am fine with trade deals which protect the interest and concerns of the people on both sides, but not trade deals that damage the interest of the people on either side. I think China and Europe can have a very good relationship. We can do trade together, but it must be done in a way that does not damage the livelihood of people in China and in Europe. That's an important thing and we should work for peace. The world is spending too much money on arms and military. We should be spending less money on military and more on housing and else. 


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