EU-China video call to replace mega summit
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EU-China relations are complicated with Beijing seen as privileging bilateral ties with European member states -- notably through its "Belt and Road" investment plan -- instead of dealing with the bloc as a whole.
Eager to attract investment, countries such as Greece, Portugal and Italy have openly embraced Belt and Road, vexing Brussels and many EU partners.
The European Union is China's biggest trading partner and China is the bloc's second biggest, though there are growing calls in Europe to reduce the continent's deep dependence on Chinese manufacturing.
Negotiating on behalf of the 27 member states, the European Commission has meanwhile failed to finalise a long negotiated investment pact that China insists can be done by the end of the year.