A flurry of trips by European leaders to China are taking place. It is in line with the interests of European citizens, and reflects a genuine and welcome effort on behalf of China to try and develop international relations, Clare Daly (Daly), an Irish politician and member of the European Parliament, told Global Times (GT) reporters Li Aixin and Wang Zixuan in an interview before wrapping up her China visit.
GT: During your China visit, there have been some European leaders coming to China or planning to visit China. What signal do you think it conveys?
Daly: We found it very interesting that everybody is coming to China. Brazilian President Lula is coming soon also. Everybody is beating at the door here. I think what it reflects is a very genuine and welcome effort on behalf of China to try and develop international relations.
To be honest, the relations between the EU and China have not been good. We have noticed, in the period of time since we have been in the European Parliament, hostility and anti-Chinese rhetoric creeping into the debates. That’s not in the EU’s interest. It doesn’t make any sense.
We have tried to understand where it comes from. The only conclusion we can come to is that China is a “threat” to US economic interests, not security interests. In desperation, they [the US] are trying to drag the EU with them into their camp. But we don’t think anybody should have camps.
China is a hugely important world economy. It’s in the interests of the EU to have good relations with China. From what we’ve seen, [French] President Macron has improved his relations with China. The comments before European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen came were rude, undiplomatic, arrogant and beyond what the EU should be doing. It was quite disgraceful diplomatically. But this is what we have come to expect from the EU.
We have a very weak leadership that is behaving in a way that is not in the interests of EU citizens. They need to stay on side with China, but they are bending the knee to the US like they always do. We think they should develop an independent path and forge good relations with everybody.
GT: Do you think the visits by European leaders might show that the EU’s political circle is turning toward a more rational and practical mentality toward China?
Daly: I would like to think that, but I’ve seen too much of the EU think that rationality is part of their plan. Unfortunately, we shot ourselves in our two feet in terms of our relations with Russia in response to the war, rather than championing peace, as we should have been doing. We have been ensuring that the conflict continues there.
Would they suddenly become intelligent and rational? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I think it’s probably a result of Chinese diplomacy. Let’s hope that the outcome is better relations. I think the visits will certainly help.
More important, in some ways, is the role that China is playing now on the world stage in terms of international affairs, arguing for peace in Ukraine. That is very welcome, because for too long, the world has been dominated by the US who has acted in their own interests, as all countries do. But unfortunately, that interest was to the detriment of people all over the world, and all of us are paying a price for that. We would like to see a real return to international law and multilateral arrangements, which is not really possible in a US-dominated world.
GT: When the US media discussed the European leaders’ visits to China, they said French diplomacy was undermining US efforts to reign China in. What’s your take in this?
Daly: This is the constant mantra from the US, this is what they do all of the time. Sadly, they generally bring the EU with them and the EU repeats this nonsense as well. It just reveals that China is an economic “threat” to the US in terms their dominant position.
The US has been working full time to drive a wedge between the EU and China and Russia and everybody else. They are trying to hang on to their global position, which they are losing and will lose and have lost in reality. They’ve lost the hearts and minds of most of the world’s population, but they are desperately trying to keep the EU, maybe Australia and the UK, as the last group of people to bring with them.
Unfortunately, those countries have a disproportionate influence on international bodies, way beyond their numbers. But we’re in a new dawn of world relations and the old one, represented by the US and sadly the EU, is in decline. The EU doesn’t have to be, and the US doesn’t either. The US should have good relations with China. Everybody should work with everybody to their own mutual benefit. Sadly, the military industrial complex that dominates the political agenda in the US wanted a different way, and they need to have enemies and bad guys to justify the expenditure.
GT: How would you describe US and EU’s role in the world?
Daly: What I think is that the global rule of the US is facing a long and agonizing death. Their days are coming to an end, but that death agony is going to be protracted and take some time.
We’re living in an incredibly dangerous period in world history where there is an attempt to redevelop Cold War politics. Most of it is coming from the US. Sadly, the EU, rather than being on the side of saying, “no, we’re not interested in that,” have sided with the US in that agenda and they’re playing that game.
They have sided into the “bad guys, good guys” narrative. They call it democracy vs authoritarianism, which is absolutely ridiculous. We have a chance to vote every five years. Usually the people we vote for tell lies and then they come into power, there’s nothing we can do about it. So what is democracy? It’s a bit crazy.
Europe should be aligning with the countries that form the majority of the world’s population, which is outside the Global North, and arguing for peace in an independent way and working with everybody. They are not doing that. Hopefully. That will change.
GT: What do you think of China’s position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, and in what ways can China and Europe work together to ease or maybe end the conflict?
Daly: We very much welcome it. We are for peace, we are against war. We thought it was really helpful that the Chinese did come up with a peace plan. It’s not detailed, it’s common sense. It’s what we have been saying since the beginning in the parliament. We think that Russia made a very big mistake. A lot of people have suffered since then and still are. World relations are in a very difficult place. The only way out of that is through peace and dialogue.
I think the proposal was helpful, but people need to get behind it. The problem is that Europe is still continuing to provide arms for Ukraine. They’re still increasing and escalating the rhetoric and the hostility, which is growing all the time. When these things happen, it can get to a place where it’s very hard to claw back.
We believe that President Lula’s visit to China is partly linked with trying to see a peace plan for Ukraine. How sad that the leadership of the EU, on the continent of Europe, where the war is on, doesn’t seem to be bothered.
It shows how much in control of the agenda is the military industrial complex, particularly in the US but right across Europe. Now we see a securitized agenda, in which there are attempts to even drag China into that as well through escalating tensions in Taiwan and so on.
GT: As the victim of the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage, why is Europe not carrying out a joint investigation into the bombing?
Daly: Because they’re afraid of the truth – the only explanation that would make sense. Early on, they tried to say it was Russia who did it. The idea that they might blow up their own pipelines when they could just turn it off was a bit crazy. I’m glad that they have abandoned that lunacy.
If it was the US, which is entirely possible, then that is an act of war by the US, our supposed like-minded partner and friend. Your friends don’t go around doing things like that. The ramifications will be enormous.
So the only reason is they know the answer or they are afraid of the answer, and they don’t want to go there. But can you imagine if there was any suspicion or suggestion that China might have been involved in doing it, or Iran, or somebody like that, you would have had massive calls in the international community for sanctions, for investigations, meetings, everything. But now, the silence. The silence tells its own story.
GT: In the European Parliament, have you sensed pressure because of your position toward China?
Daly: We wouldn’t call it pressure, but there is a racism there. There is anti-China racism and stereotyping. I find it very strange to understand where that has come from.
My belief is that it has to be created. When I was in school and when China began to come onto the world stage and opened up, everybody wanted to learn Chinese. If you were intelligent and you were really in the top, you would learn Chinese. If anybody went to China, people will be, “wow, you’ve gone to China, that’s the cutting edge.”
That’s about 30 years ago. Now if you say you’re going to China, people go, “Why are you going to China? That’s scary! They’re kind of the enemy.” So how did we get into that place?
The media in Ireland has demonized us, [me and] my colleague Mick Wallace, who is a kind of a celebrity in Chinese state media. They say we are the puppets of authoritarian regimes, because some of the comments that we make may have been covered on Chinese television, but the comments we make are covered in Irish television, on American television. It doesn’t make us puppets of Europe or America.
It’s ignorance, but it doesn’t change anything. Our job is to use the chance we have in the parliament of Europe, which is very unrepresentative of the citizens of Europe. So don’t worry, if crazy people in the European Parliament are voting on stupid motions that make no sense, our job is to use that platform to represent the interests of the citizens of Europe. The interest of the citizens of Europe is to have good relations with China.
And it’s a bit crazy because all of the media and some of the politicians in the countries who complain – they all have diplomatic relations with China, they all have business relations with China.
Relations are bad. It’s not China’s fault, I think China is doing what it can do. But the door isn’t open enough. So hopefully some of these visits now are the beginning of the door opening, the beginning of breaking that US domination and the idea that the EU must be in their camp and not China’s camp.
The countries where most people in the world live, big economies, Brazil, South Africa, India, all those emerging economies, they’re all going to follow China. And the Global North will be sitting in that little corner thinking they’re the most important when the world has changed dramatically when they were asleep.
Source : Global Times