The EU’s climate policy chief Frans Timmermans has postponed a planned trip to China after testing positive for COVID-19, a member of his Cabinet said today.
“We are looking to get [the trip] back on as soon as possible,” Timmermans’ communication adviser Jori Keijsper said.
Timmermans was supposed to travel to China this week to meet with Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua after attending a G7 meeting on environmental issues in Sapporo, Japan over the weekend. But he had to cancel both visits after he tested positive before traveling to Japan.
He is the second commissioner to test positive for COVID in less than a week.
Last Wednesday, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also had to postpone a trip to China after testing positive for the virus.
The fact that both commissioners caught coronavirus within days of each other is “a complete coincidence,” Keijsper said. “They didn’t see each other, there was no College [of Commissioners] in the past two weeks because of the Easter break.”
Multiple European leaders have visited China in recent weeks — including French President Emmanuel Macron, who sparked fury from Western allies after telling POLITICO in an interview that Europe must reduce its dependency on the U.S. and avoid getting dragged into a confrontation between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan.