Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Europe for the first time in five years next week in a visit that might expose European divisions over trade with Beijing and how the continent positions itself as a pole between the United States and China.

Xi travels to France, Serbia and Hungary at a time when the European Union is threatening to hammer China's electric vehicle and green energy industries with tariffs over huge subsidies the bloc says gives manufacturers in China an unfair edge.

With China's economy facing headwinds and the U.S. closing itself off to Chinese firms, the European Union could have some leverage over Beijing.