The Chinese regime has retaliated against Lithuania in response to its alliance with Taiwan, and European countries have also been involved. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated that China is blackmailing Europe and stressed that China’s attempt to divide Europe will not succeed.

As China retaliated against Lithuania for establishing Taiwan’s representative office in Nov.2021, European corporations were also affected. 

Baerbock told the Suddeutsche Zeitung in an interview on Jan. 22 that the most important thing for Lithuania right now is that European companies do not leave the country. They are afraid of reprisals from China, which wants to divide Europe by forbidding other countries from producing in Lithuania, not just exporting. As expected, China urged German businessmen investing in Lithuania not to use Lithuanian-made components.

The EU and Germany—Europe’s largest economy—made it plain that no country will be expelled from Europe. “This attempt failed,” said Baerbock regarding the CCP demands, demonstrating the need of working together to protect the European single market.

She praised the European Union’s hastily enacted anti-economic coercion law, claiming that “such forceful measures” can be combated. She also said that she informed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Jan. 20 that “the relationship between Europe and China cannot be used as an instrument of extortion.”

Germany recently dispatched officials to Lithuania in order to “defend the European single market from threats,” while also ensuring that German companies continue to invest. Germany officially urged China this week to “remove all legal and informal coercive measures against Lithuania and the EU internal market.”

The bilateral investment treaty is another hot topic in EU-China ties. The deal has been in the works for seven years and will be finalized by the end of 2020 when former German Chancellor Angela Merkel assumes the rotating EU leadership. However, the European Parliament halted the ratification process after China slapped penalties on a number of MEPs, professors, and think tanks, causing fury in European politicians.

Baerbock said, “As long as the CCP continues to sanction MEPs, this agreement is a farce.”

She also expressed doubt about the deal. The first is that it violates the concept of reciprocity by providing unequal opportunities for European and Chinese businesses. Second, the International Labour Organization (ILO) requirements, particularly the section prohibiting slave labor, must not only be verbally guaranteed but also ensured.

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