Berlin has a long list of challenges during its presidency of the Council of the EU. In Europe, Germany must carry out economic recovery projects in the wake of COVID-19, strengthen cohesion through emerging north-south and east-west divides within the EU and deal with the lingering consequences of Brexit. On the external front, the EU must face a changing geopolitical context and strive to balance relations between China, the EU and the United States at a time when Europe has its own disputes with Washington, needs to reassess its relations with Beijing and face the wider context of the escalation between China and the United States. Friction. Li stressed the need to fight protectionism and said that China needs a stable and peaceful framework to develop, and that would only be possible with free trade: “We are against unilateralism – we are for free trade.” “If jobs in Germany depend on how we deal with controversial issues, we should not be outraged, but carefully weigh all positions and actions,” Kaeser told Die Welt newspaper. While most German industrialists did not expect China to abandon authoritarianism in the near future, they thought the country would open up to more competition, as the West had done for China. A long-standing priority for Germany and other Western investors was for China to end the condition that foreign companies have a local joint venture partner, a tactic that China has used with great success to absorb Western knowledge and know-how. Another thing was that China is doing more to stem the theft of Western technologies through intellectual property. When Angela Merkel visited China in May 2018 to negotiate the reciprocity of bilateral economic relations, the media focused on her “delicate mission in Beijing.” On the one hand, German companies have complained about market barriers and forced technology transfers in China. By contrast, Chinese direct investment in Germany had increased sharply (from $80 billion in 2013 to $180 billion in 2017). Concerns have been raised about The focus of Chinese procurement on the German high-tech sector. “Beware of China`s quick money,” Die Welt warned. Meanwhile, Spiegel called Merkel`s mission a “negotiation with Leviathan.” Since then, the “fear of the Middle Kingdom” (FAZ) has become a prominent among German economic elites.
Words such as “fear,” “fear,” “anxiety,” “danger” or “threat” appear in more than 60 percent of the articles studied in this study and convey the prevailing mood in the narrative of German dependence on China. In the period leading up to the Covid 19 crisis, one issue was of particular concern, with strong demands for action. This was the German fight against dependence in the field of electric vehicle battery (EVB). Currently, EVB production is dominated by East Asian companies, including Chinese companies. According to media reports, this is life and death for the German economy. By the end of 2019, half of Handelsblatt`s articles had addressed the issue under the keyword “dependent.” “I find it frightening that we have fallen into such an addiction,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen. However, a FAZ report commented that the price proposed by Diess would make the group even more dependent on the Chinese market. The importance of the new ranking of trading partners is discussed in the second part of this article.