Chinese investment raises concerns about the tightening of EU FDI rules


Good morning and welcome to the Euro Express.

One year after EU tightening Foreign investment screening Regarding the system, the European Commission released some figures yesterday, indicating that most transactions are still going through. We will analyze the results of the survey and the challenges that Chinese companies face when they change their strategy of acquiring European assets.

In terms of economic news, the committee will today announce its assessment of each member state’s budget plan for next year based on the so-called European semester.

Later tonight, the European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, will hold a secret ballot to decide who should succeed Manfred Weber as chairman of the group next year. Participants in the competition were Roberta Metsola from Malta, Othmar Karas from Austria and Esther de Lange from the Netherlands.

At the same time, Austria is about to Compulsory vaccination The strategy is gaining support from neighboring Germany-at least in certain areas of the country. We will check the pros and cons and the Covid-19 restrictions as of today will take effect further.

The Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland, Helen Dixon, Told Euro Express what her 2022 strategy is when it comes to cases against large technology companies.

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Focus on Chinese investment

Not long ago, Western countries boasted that they had attracted a large amount of foreign domestic investment.Now they brag about how much they rejected, writing Andy Bonds is in Brussels.

Yesterday, the European Commission issued the first report FDI review regulations that came into effect in October 2020. The report also reviewed actions taken by member states to control hostile acquisitions of sensitive technologies or strategic assets by companies outside the EU.

Whether in the EU or at the national level, Europeans have followed the United States and strengthened their censorship because they fear that the Chinese group might plunder companies’ local technologies or use them to advance Beijing’s foreign policy goals.

About 18 countries now have FDI screening systems, and another 6 countries are planning one. The adherents are Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus.

The committee only reviews sensitive transactions that affect multiple member states or community projects (such as the Galileo satellite system). It cannot block transactions on its own, but it can ask national regulators to do so.

In the past year, the committee reviewed 265 projects and put conditions or tried to block only 8 of them.Officials confirmed to Euro Express that they included Buy LPE, an Italian semiconductor company controlled by Shenzhen Investment.

On the national side, the regulatory agencies of member states reviewed a total of 1,793 cases, and 80% of foreign direct investment projects were approved without review. Of those screened, only 2% were blocked by one party and 7% were discontinued. Approximately 45% of the cases involved US buyers, while only 8% were Chinese buyers (although China’s share of FDI was only 2%).

But Noah Barkin, a China-Europe investment expert at the Rhodium Group, a US consulting firm, warned that the regulations may already need to be adjusted.

“China is changing its approach,” he said. Chinese companies are more willing to establish their own factories in the EU than to gain access by buying EU factories, which often leads to scrutiny. “Greenfield investment has reached the lowest level in 2016,” Ba Jin told Euro Express.

He added that Chinese companies are also looking for smaller deals and using offshore structures to avoid attention.

“The EU needs to remain vigilant to track changes in the way Chinese companies enter the EU market,” Barkin said.

Wall Street Journal Report This month, Italian authorities discovered that 75% of the shares of drone manufacturer Alpi Aviation had been sold to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (a state-owned railway company) and an investment group controlled by the Wuxi city government through maritime vehicles.

However, reviewing transactions constructed through offshore companies will require completely different levels of resources, both at the national level and at the EU level. This is unlikely to happen soon, because committee officials admit that they are already fighting the number of cases.

Vax must be

German officials have long ruled out the possibility of mandatory vaccination.But with vaccine hesitation rates still high and the number of new infections rising, they are changing their attitudes, writing Guy Chazan is in Berlin.

The leaders of several German states, including Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and Schleswig-Holstein, are now calling for mandatory implementation of universal vaccine regulations, similar to those taken in Austria. To introduce.

Hessian Prime Minister Volker Bouffier yesterday became the latest regional governor to support mandatory jabs. “I think it must happen to break these waves permanently,” he said. He said that all previous attempts to increase vaccination rates have failed. “Either we have wave after wave, imposing restrictions every time, or we have succeeded in increasing vaccination rates,” he said.

However, others are skeptical. Andreas Bovenschulte, the mayor of the northern port city of Bremen, said: “The mandatory vaccination is too late to stop the fourth wave of coronavirus.”

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn also expressed opposition.

Even without authorization, the pressure continues to increase.

Starting today, employees must present a vaccination certificate, a certificate proving that they have recovered from Covid-19, or a negative test result before they can go to work. The same goes for passengers on German buses and trains.

Some states go further.

Bavaria today imposed contact restrictions on unvaccinated people, stipulating that only five people from two families can meet, excluding children under 12, vaccinated people and people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Thuringia, which has been hit particularly hard by the new wave, will close all clubs, bars, discos and Christmas markets, and restaurants will not be allowed to open until after 10pm.

At the same time, the number of cases continues to rise. Germany recorded 45,326 new infections yesterday and 309 deaths from Covid-19. With 399.8 cases per 100,000 cases in 7 days, the number of empty beds in the intensive care unit decreased by about 300 to 2,400.

Daily Chart: Overcoming All Difficulties

Despite supply chain disruptions, rising energy costs and a rebound in Covid-19 cases leading to rising inflation, business activity in the Eurozone has picked up this month. The survey showed that the service industry outperformed the manufacturing industry for the third consecutive month, setting the strongest activity growth in three months. (More here)

Chasing big fish

The head of the Irish data privacy regulator stated that her office will focus on high-risk cases next year instead of pursuing every small complaint-in an attempt to avoid criticizing her for being unwilling to follow large technology companies, wrote Javier Espinosa in Brussels.

A recent analysis showed that a large number of complaints from the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) against large online platforms are still unresolved. (Read it here).

Dublin has even been severely criticized by its peers.Ulrich Kelber, head of the German data protection supervisory authority, recently complain His country alone “sent more than 50 complaints about WhatsApp to the Irish authorities” and “to date, none of them have been shut down”.

Now, IDPC is fighting back.

Ireland’s data protection commissioner Helen Dixon told EuroExpress that she will prioritize the enforcement of large technology cases.

She said her office is often caught in the quagmire of personal complaints because she tries to invest resources in cases involving Facebook or TikTok.

“Some of the complaints we deal with may take a lot of time, but they do not expose any systemic risks, nor do they pose a significant risk to individuals,” she said, adding that regulators will “fight back” more such incidents. case.

Dixon said that tracing Big Tech’s data breach was “of course one of the secondary tasks”, but rejected her accusations that she did not do enough. She argued that the Irish authorities only became the main enforcer after passing the privacy law three years ago, and that the system can only develop at a certain rate.

However, Dixon continues to face new criticism.Yesterday, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems accused IDPC of trying Forbid him Post materials related to Facebook complaints.

“They basically deprived us of all the rights to a fair procedure unless we agreed to shut up,” he said.

IDPC stated: “In order to be fair to all parties, the integrity of the investigation process should be respected and the confidentiality of the information exchanged between the parties should be maintained.”

What to watch today

  1. The European Commission announces the “European semester” for the 2022 budget of the member states

  2. Svyatlana Zihanusskaya, leader of the Belarusian opposition party, speaks at the European Parliament

  3. The European People’s Party in the European Parliament elects new leaders

Noteworthy

  • Line card consequences: German financial regulator BaFin will have to Cut contact with bank lobbyists And to ensure that it will not accept orders from the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the rules proposed by Brussels after the group scandal.

  • Political advertising rules: theme Will lift the veil The draft legislation aims to restrict the use of social media practices, such as micro-positioning and user portraits, by forcing technology companies to share how they spread advertisements and targeted information online, or face fines of up to 5% of their turnover.

  • Turkish roller coaster: Lira encounters historic retreat After President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the recent interest rate cut and announced that his country is fighting a “war of economic independence.” (Full interpreter here .)

  • British booster: The early booster campaign and broad immunity gained in the early Covid-19 wave put the UK in Different trajectories From its mainland neighbors.

Britain after Brexit — As the UK economy adapts to life outside the EU, keep abreast of the latest developments.register here

Moral money — Newsletters about socially responsible companies, sustainable finance, etc. that we must not miss.register here

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Today’s European express team: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter: @AndyBounds, @GuyChazan, @javierespFT, @valentinapop.





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