Today’s a big day in Brussels with potentially major geopolitical implications: Top EU leaders will try to make the case during a virtual summit for why Xi Jinping should use China’s economic and political influence to push Russia toward ending the war in Ukraine — or at least prevent Beijing from cozying up with the Kremlin even further. European Council chief Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, will start the session at 10 a.m. Brussels time with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. They’ll then move on to Xi at 2 p.m.

No diplomatic tip-toeing: The European Parliament’s top trade lawmaker, Bernd Lange, said he expects the EU to drop all diplomatic pretense. “The summit will certainly get down to business — that is the clear plan, and the Chinese know it,” Lange told reporters ahead of the meeting. “This is not a summit of diplomacy.” At the same time, it’d be counterproductive to threaten China with punitive measures from the EU’s side, he said. [...]

The carrot: If China is to heed EU calls, it will certainly want something in return. Part of this could be an offer to remove some low-threshold trade barriers during a meeting in June if the summit goes well, Lange said Wednesday. [...]