Russia’s war on Ukraine has triggered a profound reassessment in European capitals of their individual and collective relations with China.
Confronted by the need to rapidly unwind a dependence on Russian energy built up over decades, government officials from Rome to Prague are re-evaluating the extent of their economic and political ties to China.
Senior lawmakers in Berlin who now concede that such closeness to Russia was a historic liability are starting to see the danger of repeating the mistake with another authoritarian regime, raising alarm bells over Germany’s status as Beijing’s largest European trading partner.
Nations in central and eastern Europe are casting fresh doubt on the wisdom of the so-called 16+1 forum with China. Italy has just strengthened its veto power against foreign takeovers, a measure directed at China.