Economic relations are strained between the European Union and China, Brussels wants to give itself the possibility of purely and simply prohibiting the takeover of a European company by invoking the distortion of competition.
Nicolas Barré takes stock of a current economic issue.
Economic relations are straining between the European Union and China. Europe is showing itself less and less naive.
Economic relations are straining between the European Union and China.
Europe is showing itself less and less naive.
If the lines are moving and the tone hardens towards the Chinese, it is because Germany is moving. Until now, any beginning of a desire for vague firmness with regard to Beijing immediately encountered a German veto, Berlin wanting above all to preserve its economic interests in the Chinese market. It was Angela Merkel, for example, who campaigned for the controversial investment deal with China, a deal favorable to Beijing and German industry. Moreover this Wednesday again, Merkel continued to defend it against all odds: "a very important agreement", she said. Even though it no longer has much chance of being ratified due to human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. There is no majority in the European Parliament to vote for it.
Europe is getting tougher and hopes to lead Germany.
What changes the situation a bit, in fact, is the end of Angela Merkel's reign.
She is more and more isolated, her power is eroded, so she is less able to impose her views.
This coincides with the will of the Commission to strengthen its economic arsenal vis-à-vis China and this hard line is scoring points.
On Wednesday, the Commission presented a draft regulation, that is to say a text that can be adopted quickly enough, to block Chinese companies benefiting from subsidies and wanting to gain a foothold in the European market.
It's a real software change on the part of Europe.
Brussels wants to give itself the possibility of purely and simply prohibiting the takeover of a European company by invoking the distortion of competition. We often see Chinese companies benefiting from privileged financing or access to natural resources at hyper-advantageous conditions launching an assault on foreign companies to win markets. Until now Brussels did not have the means to react. With this new text, it will be possible. The other novelty is that Germany is no longer blocking. Faced with a China that knows only the balance of power, a little realpolitik does not hurt ...