(Adds that China is not invited)
BRDO, Slovenia, July 2 (Reuters) – Slovenia, which holds the six-monthly presidency of the EU, will host an EU summit on October 6 to discuss relations with China and reinvigorate relations with the six Balkan countries who hope to join the bloc, Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Friday.
Jansa said there were no plans to invite Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the leaders’ meeting would seek to coordinate positions on trade. Due to COVID-19, last year’s two EU-China summits, in June and September, were both held by video conference.
“On October 6 (…) there will be an extraordinary summit of the European Union which will first be devoted to relations with China, then also to relations with representatives of the Western Balkans,” Jansa told reporters, speaking from Brdo, near the capital Ljubljana.
In May, the EU took steps to guard against economic competition from China that it considers unfair. Next year, the European Parliament is expected to consider ratifying a new investment deal with Beijing that was concluded late last year.
The approval process was frozen after China imposed retaliatory sanctions on EU lawmakers following Western sanctions over Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslim minorities in far western Xinjiang. (Report by Sabine Siebold, edited by Gabriela Baczynska, William Maclean)