Xi comes to Europe: what's on the agenda?

China's president visiting for first time since 2019, with spotlight on support for Russia over Ukraine and trade tensions with EU

China's President Xi Jinping speaks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 26
Relations between Europe and China are at 'their most fraught point in decades', said Bloomberg
(Image credit: Mark Schiefelbein / Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Europe for the first time in five years, amid rising tensions with the EU over trade and China's implicit support of Russia.

China's president will make state visits to Serbia, Hungary and France, beginning in Paris on Monday. German chancellor Olaf Scholz last week visited China, his country's biggest trading partner, but Xi's return trip "may lay bare European divisions over trade with Beijing", said Reuters. The EU is threatening to "hammer" the Chinese electric vehicle and green energy industries with tariffs, in response to "huge subsidies", which the bloc claims give manufacturers in China "an unfair edge".

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Harriet Marsden is a writer for The Week, mostly covering UK and global news and politics. Before joining the site, she was a freelance journalist for seven years, specialising in social affairs, gender equality and culture. She worked for The Guardian, The Times and The Independent, and regularly contributed articles to The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, Tortoise Media and Metro, as well as appearing on BBC Radio London, Times Radio and “Woman’s Hour”. She has a master’s in international journalism from City University, London, and was awarded the "journalist-at-large" fellowship by the Local Trust charity in 2021.