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US soapbox easy option for EU politicians: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2023-06-05 19:10
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A simple glance at the European Parliament's agenda shows that it is filled with debates on civil liberties, the democratic process and foreign interference, and gender affairs every day.

No doubt these topics are important. But some of the issues are symptomatic of more fundamental concerns whose amelioration would be better served by seeking ways to improve infrastructure, cut tax, and invest more in public services, which have appeared in the European Parliament's agenda but with a much lower frequency as all too often the discussions are nothing but empty talk.

Blah, blah, blah has become the curse of the bloc. Talking for the sake of talking may give the impression that something is being done, but it does not improve people's livelihoods. And all too often what is uttered is simply soapbox popular appeasements. The empty talk every day also reveals how tightly some European countries cling to the United States' ideological coattails, as quite a few of them are blaming other nations, such as China, for their woes.

On April 25, echoing the US' tightened sanctions against Chinese companies and their developed apps via a $300 million penalty on Seagate Technology for shipments to Huawei, members of the European Parliament called on the European Council and the European Commission to "exclude the use of equipment and software from manufacturers from high-risk countries, particularly China and Russia, such as ByteDance, Huawei, ZTE, Kaspersky, NtechLab or Nuctech".

That ideological bias against China has already become an obstacle to cooperative bilateral relations. Within the EU, the most commonly identified threats to the bloc are European disunity and policymaking inertia, not China. In fact, cooperation with China, particularly climate and sustainability cooperation, is seen by many as a priority.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pointed out the nakedness of the European Parliament when he said that "ideological discrimination is the real danger to European unity". While there is an increasing amount of "blah-blah" in European politics, statements repeated over and over again but followed by no action, Europe is increasingly losing its competitiveness, Orban said on Friday.

Thirty-two years have passed since the Soviet Union collapsed, during which time the world has experienced many changes. There is no need for Western nations to still tilt at Cold War windmills. Maybe the politicians in Europe need to stop talking and take a good look around them instead.

If EU politicians closed their ears to the blah-blah with intent emanating from Washington and considered with an open mind what has transpired in recent years, particularly Washington's proxied showdown with Moscow, they would realize that it is the willingness of the bloc to let Washington lead it by the nose they should be worried about, not Beijing.

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