Macron and China’s Xi break protocol for one-on-one go to to the Pyrenees | EUROtoday

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French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Pyrenees mountains on Tuesday on the second day of a visit throughout which Xi confirmed little signal of being prepared to supply main concessions on commerce or overseas coverage.

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Advisers to the French president described the Pyrenees journey as breaking with protocol for an opportunity for one-on-one chats with Xi, with out scores of aides, in mountains pricey to Macron because the birthplace of his maternal grandmother.

One of Macron’s primary goals is to persuade Xi to cut back the commerce imbalance between the 2 areas, with higher entry for European companies in China and fewer subsidies for Chinese exporters.

Macron and his spouse, Brigitte, who greeted Xi and his spouse, Peng Liyuan, on the airport in windy climate, took them to lunch excessive up within the mountains.

The two {couples}, who travelled on separate flights from Paris, additionally took separate vehicles to the mountains and arrived amid thick fog – lacking out on the view.

After watching conventional dancers carry out beneath the snowy peaks, they ate domestically grown ham, lamb, cheese and blueberry pie. Xi mentioned he would give the ham some publicity and likewise praised the cheese.

Macron gifted Xi a woollen blanket made within the Pyrenees, a Tour de France jersey and armagnac from the close by southwestern area – a brandy which is vulnerable to Chinese commerce sanctions.

Macron has a historical past of making an attempt to determine outside-of-protocol private relationships along with his counterparts, even these he strongly disagrees with, in usually not very profitable bids to acquire extra from them.

This time, Xi has mentioned he would welcome extra high-level talks on commerce frictions, but in addition denied there was a Chinese “overcapacity problem”, casting doubts on how a lot progress may ultimately be achieved.

French and Chinese firms concluded some agreements on Monday starting from power, finance and transport on the sidelines of Xi’s go to, however most have been agreements to cooperate or renewed commitments to work collectively, and there have been no vital offers.

In an indication of some progress, China will permit imports of pig origin protein feed in addition to pork offal from France efficient instantly, in response to statements from Chinese customs and the French farm ministry.

European hopes of an Airbus aircraft order to coincide with Xi’s go to seem to have been dashed, with the 2 sides agreeing solely to broaden co-operation.

A European diplomat mentioned Xi was the “winner” of the go to, having “cemented his image as the ‘ruler of the world’ where westerners are begging him to solve European problems in Ukraine”.

Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, director of the Brussels-based ECIPE assume tank, mentioned the go to was presumably much less about making concrete progress on commerce than creating some coverage house they may want if Donald Trump returns to the White House after November’s U.S. election.

“It’s in both sides’ interests to have some practical issues settled before November 2024. Neither Macron nor Xi wants a two-front war,” he mentioned.

Macron model

Macron is eager to embrace, hug, wink at or slap his counterparts on the again – which he didn’t likelihood with Xi, who will not be a hugger.

Macron did accomplish that on the time with then U.S President Trump and with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier than the Ukraine struggle, and extra lately with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a lot to the pleasure of social media commentators.

Xi’s Pyrenees invite has echoes of Trump becoming a member of Macron in 2017 to look at the Bastille Day parade, or Putin’s 2019 journey to the French president’s Bregancon fortress summer season retreat, in southeast France.

“Emmanuel Macron attempted this narcissistic diplomacy of ‘I flatter the tyrant’ with Vladimir Putin for five years, with the Bregancon fort … the camaraderie,” Raphael Glucksmann, who leads the French Socialists’ European Parliament ticket, informed RTL radio.

“And all that ended with what, the invasion of Ukraine and the threats to our democracies,” Glucksmann mentioned.

The European Union’s 27 members ran a commerce deficit of 396 billion euros ($426.25 billion) with China in 2022, in response to European Commission knowledge, in contrast with a 250.3 billion deficit a yr earlier.

French cognac makers rallied on Tuesday as Xi introduced what Macron described as an “open attitude” in direction of a commerce dispute between the 2 international locations.