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The draft document, seen by CNBC, is the foundation for the outcome of an upcoming summit between US President Joe Biden and European leaders scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Its wording could change until the end of the meeting.
Speaking on Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs European summits, said: “The world has a right to know exactly what happened, so that they can learn from it.”
“There is this horrible pandemic, a global pandemic that we need to know where it came from in order to learn the right lessons and develop the right tools to make sure it never happens again and, therefore, investigators need full access to everything necessary to really find the source of this pandemic, ”she added.
The statements follow Biden’s call last month for the World Health Organization to conduct a second phase of an investigation into the origins of the virus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan end of 2019.
The U.S. intelligence community said last month that it “doesn’t know exactly where, when or how the Covid-19 virus was initially transmitted, but has merged around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, or it was a laboratory accident. “
The discussion of the origins of the coronavirus comes at a time when the United States and the EU also intend to discuss their broader relationship with China.
While on the one hand, the US and the EU want to criticize what they describe as human rights violations in China; on the other hand, they want Beijing to engage constructively on climate change policies and open up parts of its economy.
“Biden believes that with a broad coalition, you may be able to push China on a more constructive path. The international pressure, that is to say the pressure which does not come only from Washington, could prove useful on one of these subjects ”, Jeremy Ghez, professor HEC Business School in Paris, told CNBC the last week.
The EU decided in March to suspend ratification of an investment deal with Beijing – an agreement that was presented in December, just weeks before Biden’s inauguration.
Ethnic Uyghurs, who live primarily in western China, have been identified by the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and others as a suppressed group. The Chinese Foreign Ministry in March called such claims “malicious lies” designed to “smear China” and “frustrate China’s development”.