EU leaders on Monday pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping on a number of issues, starting with opening up access to European companies. During a two-hour video call, Angela Merkel, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen also raised the issues of international cooperation on coronavirus and China’s detention of its muslim minority Uighurs.

EU Commission President von der Leyen said there has been progress but a lot still needs to be done. In a post-summit news conference, she told reporters that European companies must have fair and equal access to the Chinese market in exchange for the openness of Europe. She admitted it will be a struggle to get an agreement in place by the end of the year.

On human rights, the Chinese leader tried to blame the reports of Uighur detentions, rapes and torture on anti-Chinese propaganda. He did nit take part in the end-of-summit news conference.

Xi Jinping Reuters