The EU fights for a common position

Some Western countries such as the United States or Great Britain have announced that they will not send political representatives to the Winter Games. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Guterres will travel to the opening ceremony.

UN Secretary General António Guterres intends to be present at the opening ceremony “without a political dimension”. Photo: Mark Garten/UN/dpa (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Mark Garten/UN/dpa)

Berlin/New York – Three weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympics, the EU is still struggling to find a common position on a diplomatic boycott.

It is still true that the vote within the European Union on this issue is still ongoing, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in Berlin. “This process is not yet complete in all respects.” The issue could also play a role at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brest, France, on Friday.

The United States announced weeks ago that it would not send official representatives to the games from February 4 to 20 in China. Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand joined. The background is above all the human rights situation in the most populous country in the world. The leadership in Beijing has been criticized for its dealings with Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province and Tibetans, but also for its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan.

Olympic opening ceremony on February 4

UN Secretary General António Guterres, on the other hand, will travel to Beijing for the opening ceremony. This was announced by the Portuguese in New York. “First of all, the Olympics is an extremely important event and it is an event that symbolizes the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres said. For this reason, it intends to be present “without any political dimension” at the opening ceremony on February 4, “with the message that the Olympic Games must be an instrument for peace in the world.”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Home Secretary Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced in late December that they would not travel to the games in Beijing. However, both made it clear that these are personal decisions that have nothing to do with the fundamental political decision on a diplomatic boycott. Scholz did not respond to the question of whether he had personally decided for or against a trip at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220113-99-700949/3

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