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Podcast: How Ursula Von Der Leyen Became The EU's Top China Hawk


At center of the EU’s tough line toward China is European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has championed reducing the EU’s dependency on China and backed tougher trade policies.
At center of the EU’s tough line toward China is European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has championed reducing the EU’s dependency on China and backed tougher trade policies.

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Ahead of a high-profile EU-China summit in Beijing on December 7, EU leaders are set to press Xi Jinping on a host of contentious issues, ranging from tough trade disputes to China’s support for Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

At the center of this tough line coming out of Brussels is European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has championed reducing the EU’s dependency on China and backed tougher trade policies.

But what’s behind von der Leyen’s views on China and what do they mean for the future of the EU and China?

On the latest episode of Talking China In Eurasia, host Reid Standish is joined by RFE/RL Europe Editor Rikard Jozwiak, who explains von der Leyen’s rise and the deepening competition between China and the EU.

Listen to the full episode here:

How Ursula Von Der Leyen Became The EU's Top China Hawk
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Background Reading:

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    Reid Standish

    Reid Standish is an RFE/RL correspondent in Prague and author of the China In Eurasia briefing. He focuses on Chinese foreign policy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and has reported extensively about China's Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s internment camps in Xinjiang. Prior to joining RFE/RL, Reid was an editor at Foreign Policy magazine and its Moscow correspondent. He has also written for The Atlantic and The Washington Post.

  • 16x9 Image

    Katie Toth

    Katie Toth is an audio producer and journalist researching the impact of border security on human rights. Her work has been featured on NPR and the CBC and in Foreign Policy and Vice.

About The Newsletter

China In Eurasia
Reid Standish

In recent years, it has become impossible to tell the biggest stories shaping Eurasia without considering China’s resurgent influence in local business, politics, security, and culture.

Subscribe to this biweekly dispatch in which correspondent Reid Standish builds on the local reporting from RFE/RL’s journalists across Eurasia to give you unique insights into Beijing’s ambitions and challenges.

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