In the weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after combining to deliver a lightning-fast blitz of sanctions, European and American officials spoke glowingly of a silver lining: the war had brought them closer together than they had been in years.
At the same time, mutual invective was directed towards Beijing, which refused to condemn the February invasion and in the weeks leading up to it, declared a friendship with Russia that had “no limits”.
For many, the expectation was that this new geopolitical Europe would move closer to Washington’s more hawkish China policy.
Mathilde Velliet, a research fellow covering US foreign policy at the Institute of French Internationa Relations, said there were “conflicting trends in Europe”, which makes the dynamic diffi cult to read.
“The recent, or incoming, visits of German and EU leaders have obviously drawn a lot of attention, as well as the understandable pushback from European offi cials against the extraterritorial application of US recent controls and the American desire to strong-arm allies into adopting the same policies towards China,” Velliet said.
These actions jar with recent rhetoric on Beijing becoming a systemic competitor for Europe, and the need to reduce the EU’s reliance on China for critical supplies. But the dichotomy “does expand space for cooperation”, said Velliet.