BERLIN — The EU and China agreed to postpone a summit in Germany set for September due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Berlin government announced Wednesday.
The plan was to convene EU and Chinese leaders in Leipzig on September 14 for a gathering aimed at deepening ties between the bloc and the world’s second-largest economy. It was pitched as a landmark occasion to fall under Germany’s six-month Council of the EU presidency, which kicks off on July 1. The aim was also to seal an investment protection agreement between Beijing and Brussels, but progress has been slow on reaching a deal.
Instead, the EU, Germany and China will work to find an alternative date for the meeting, according to Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesperson. In a statement posted on Twitter, Seibert did not give any indication as to whether the summit would still take place this year.
The decision was taken after Merkel spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and European Council President Charles Michel by telephone earlier in the day, Seibert said.
Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Berlin wanted to help develop “a robust EU strategy on China” over the coming months.
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