The discussions, which will take place over lunch at a meeting of the council in Luxembourg, will deal with the proposed launch of negotiations on an investment agreement.

A briefing by the council said that the tariffs, which have sparked retaliatory action from the Chinese, are likely to be raised by members as part of this discussion.

This week, analysis by HIS forecast that European PV installations will fall by more than 6GW this year, with 1.3GW of that drop attributable to the 11.8% duties.

Jonathan Selwyn, managing director of Lark Energy, said: “Most of the European solar industry is dependent on the low prices that Chinese panels provide and will be desperate for a compromise to be reached before the higher tariff comes into force in August.

”The consequences of there not being a deal are dire: far from saving the European solar industry, it will stop it dead in the water, threatening tens of thousands of jobs.

He said that although it appeared some Chinese manufacturers have been selling solar panels below cost, this was a relection of the market rather than a pre-determined strategy by China.

But EU ProSun, a lobbying group for European manufacturers, called on the EU to “show backbone” in the face of Chinese pressure to drop the tariffs.

The organisation’s president, Milan Nitzschke, said: “The EU and its member states should not be blackmailed by China's mafia-like behaviour.

“After a nine month investigation, the EC has proven that Chinese solar manufacturers have taken over the European market by charging typically up to 50% lower prices than cost of production.  Such behaviour is illegal under WTO and EU law, and has cost Europe thousands of jobs.”