China Winter Olympics: With EU Divided, Only Poland, Luxembourg VIPs in Attendance

Written by | Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Poland and Luxembourg were the only European Union countries expected that have sent their VIPs to Beijing’s Olympics, as China and Russia use the games to forge closer ties. Polish president Andrzej Duda and Luxembourg’s grand duke Henri were reportedly the only top-level EU guests attending the Friday’s (4 February) Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Overall, the bloc has been very much divided on the issue of boycotting the Beijing’s Olympics. Those in favor of the boycott included notably Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Portugal. Despite pledges by France, the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, to coordinate a common position, no continental-wide consensus has been agreed.
On the other hand, the European Parliament has possibly been the only EU institution that has consistently led the line in standing up to China on the European stage. Only last month, MEPs reaffirmed their staunch support for an EU-wide diplomatic boycott of the games, along with the imposition of sanctions on CCP officials guilty of abuses, and the implementation of a lifeboat scheme for desperate Hong Kongers fleeing Beijing-sponsored tyranny. As Engin Eroglu, a MEP with the Renew Europe group, points out, “while a handful of member states have demonstrated brave leadership in the face of an ever-belligerent China, the EU as a whole has shrunk and shied away from principled and concerted action.” Referring specifically to China’s continuing crackdown in Hong Kong, on the Uyghurs, and its unceasing aggressive activities toward Taiwan, the German MEP urges the EU to “get its act together fast and demonstrate its commitment to the universal values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law by staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese and Russian leaders used their high-level pre-Olympic meeting to urge NATO to rule out expansion as Ukraine tensions rise and call on the West to “abandon the ideologies approaches of the cold war.” China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have signed a joint statement calling on the west to rule out expansion in eastern Europe, denounced the formation of security blocs in the Asia Pacific region, and criticized the Aukus trilateral security pact between the US, UK and Australia. The two countries also pledged to step up cooperation to thwart “color revolutions” and external interference, and vowed to further deepen “back-to-back” strategic coordination. According to analyses, the statement shows how China and Russia have increasingly found common interest in their respective conflicts with western powers.

Article Categories:
Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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