Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave an interview on Dec. 31 to China Radio International’s “World Today” broadcast coverage of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The interview can be found here: http://chinaplus.cri.cn/podcast/detail/1/2689962, it starts at 29.47, and includes Dr. Qiao Hai [ph] of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
What follows is the exchange between CRI’s moderator and Helga Zepp-LaRouche:
CRI: Let’s begin this second half with the big investment deal between China and the European Union. The negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was first launched in 2014, just before another new year. Both sides say the negotiations are complete. The announcement was made via a video link following a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, and heads of the European Council [Charles Michel] and European Commission [Ursula von der Leyen]. President Xi Jinping said the agreement show China’s determination and confidence in further opening up its economy to the rest of the world. He said, it would help the world’s two major economies make a significant contribution to the world economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.
To talk more about this, we’re joined by Helga Zepp-LaRouche from Germany. She’s the founder of the Schiller Institute, an political and economic think tank; and Dr. Qiao Hai from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Thanks for joining us.
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Hello.
CRI: Speaking of the importance, Helga, how do you understand the significance of this agreement for both sides?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think it’s extremely beneficial. But if favors so far the larger firms and I think it needs to be more extended, also, for the smaller and medium enterprises. But I think the fact that President Macron from France participated in the signing ceremony is extremely important, because he has no title in that leadership of the EU, but it signals that both Germany and France are in total agreement.
Also I think it is very important that not one ambassador was against it: This is very important, because this agreement still has to be signed by all the national parliaments and EU, so the prospect that it will go through smoothly is actually looking very good. I think this is a major breakthrough for the whole world.
CRI: Helga, according to a transcript of an online meeting between the EU leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron offered to visit China in the coming months, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to discuss other areas of cooperation, such as healthcare and the environment. Are we going to see a stronger tie between China and the EU and stronger ties between China and European nations?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I definitely hope so. We are definitely in a world of great challenges, the pandemic is not over, international cooperation, and therefore my hope would be that European leaders would turn to Leibniz, who already in the 17th century said that is so happens that the most advanced cultures are situated at each end of the European continent, and they should join hands and develop the region in between. Now, I would hope that with China having made major concessions in this China-EU Investment, that Europe, in the other side would also be more open to cooperation with the Belt and Road Initiative. Because that would really give the framework to address all the many challenges, such as the underdevelopment of the developing sector. In order to overcome the pandemic, it is not enough to throw cash at the crisis when it is there, but I think that China and the EU should work together to industrialize Africa, Southwest Asia, and other regions, because otherwise, the danger of new pandemics will always exist.
I would hope European leaders would turn to Leibniz in their approach, because Leibniz, was an absolute admirer of Chinese culture. And I think Europeans have so much to discover if they study Chinese history and culture and philosophy, poetry, painting—there are so many things to be discovered, and I would hope that this agreement opens the way for a new renaissance in relations between the two.
CRI: Helga, what’s your take? Are those concerns from the U.S. society legitimate?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think The “concerns,” so-called, are purely ideological and motivated by geopolitical thinking. In the recent period there has been an unprecedented anti-China campaign in the United States, which is blaming China for every problem on the planet, which is completely hysterical. But there is no way how the rise of China—which is really the motive for this—can be stopped! China is a country of 1.4 billion people, with a policy based on innovation. And China has been the leader of technological development for many centuries. So if China is now coming back as one of the most important four nations in the world, people should be happy about it, because, from everything I have studied and seen, China is a benign factor and does not do what the U.S. is accusing it of.
So I think it will be beneficial for U.S. firms, as Mr. Qiao just said. The anti-China sentiment, by the way, is not shared by many U.S. firms, by many of the governors, by many of the elected officials. So hopefully the example which is set now by China and the EU will also influence the situation in the United States.
CRI: Helga, many believe the conclusion of the agreement also shows the EU respects its relationship with the United States, but will not wait for the United States any longer. Do you detect a change of the EU-U.S. relations, when it comes to trade?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it’s a mixed situation, because despite the fact that this ceremony was signed, Michel, from EU Council, still called China a “strategic rival.” But I think there is a general tendency in Europe to assert more sovereignty. Also within the different nations in Europe, there is a growing sense that national sovereignty is important. I hope this will lead to a new paradigm, because I think we need a completely new paradigm in in international relations, where geopolitics must be overcome. Geopolitics led two times to a world war in the 20th century, and the proposal by President Xi Jinping for a “shared future of mankind,” is, I think, a very important expression of this new paradigm. And if people start to study that and realize that in the post-pandemic world, either we find new ways of relating to each other or we will be doomed together. This is a branching point in history, where hopefully people will be open with new visions about the future of humanity.
CRI: Helga, do you think this deal will be a stepping stone to an EU-China free trade agreement?
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I think it will be a stepping stone, hopefully, for an even larger conception, because we need, really, a new world economic order. I think that the most challenging question is the development of the developing countries. We have a famine, which, according to the World Food Program threatens 270 million people’s dying by starvation in 2021. And I think there needs to be a crash program to overcome that. And I think the most important economic powers have to work together, and I really think the combination of pandemic and danger of world famine should be a motivation to really go for a completely different design, where the common good of the people is being put first and not the maximization of profit. This is a very important challenge to humanity that we take this step, and go away from what has been the financial system, where only the maximizing the profit of the speculators was what counted. This is a challenge to the sovereign governments of the world to respond to the need for the common good of their people. That is what people should think about.