Will the European Union join a diplomatic boycott of the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games?
It's very unlikely.
EU Deputy Foreign Affairs Chief Stefano Sannino says the political union "has no competence in sport," meaning it's up to individual EU members to act. That doesn't bode well for a boycott.
For a start, the most powerful EU member is showing predictable disinterest in Chinese human rights.
New German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who took office on Wednesday, is already signaling that he wants to maintain Angela Merkel's policy toward China (and Russia, for that matter). That means prioritizing German car exports and ignoring all other China-related concerns of trade, human rights, democratic solidarity, and military imperialism.
Asked whether he would support a diplomatic boycott, Scholz waffled. "We think it’s important to do everything you can to make the world work together internationally, and any actions you take in each case need to be carefully weighed. In a world that needs to work together, it’s also about taking advantage of the signals of cooperation."
This pathetic rhetoric can be more simply translated as: "No. We care about cars, not genocide."
Nor does the second-most powerful EU member seem supportive of a boycott. While the French foreign minister has deflected questions of a possible boycott, Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer is more honest: France "won't do it," he said.
This hesitation reflects a broader tension in French policy toward China. President Emmanuel Macron has shown some support for U.S. efforts to challenge China's South China Sea imperialism. France has also consolidated EU support for Lithuania, as the latter faces an escalating Chinese economic coercion campaign over its diplomacy with Taiwan. However, Macron's support for human rights meets a wall with China. His government won't call China's abuse of the Uyghurs what it is: a genocide. Like Germany, this hesitation reflects France's keen pursuit of further Chinese investment.
Most other EU member states are likely to follow suit. One major obstacle toward a boycott is that absent Franco-German support, EU members know how China will respond to those nations who join it: by doing to them what it is doing to Lithuania — which is to say, singling them out and attempting to destroy their economies.
So for all the EU's eloquent proclamations on liberal values, don't expect any moral leadership on this issue. When it comes to the EU and China, export money talks, genocide walks.