China's influence in Europe | The Economist
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China's investment in Europe is growing. Our cover leader this week explains why the money is welcome, but not when it is used to buy political influence. Click here to subscribe to The Economist on YouTube: https://econ.st/2xvTKdy Our cover this week focuses on China's investment in Europe, which over the past few years has increased hugely into everything from industrial companies to airports and infrastructure, and to football clubs and media. Much of this is for profit - it's private and it's harmless. But sometimes it's used to buy political influence. For example, Greece and Hungary have worked together to stop Europe from condemning an international tribunals finding against China, in its plans in the South China Sea. China, like any rising economy, wants to invest money abroad - so it's bought stakes in Heathrow and other airports and in industrial companies like PSA, which makes Citroen and Peugeot cars. Some China boosters think that it makes a good ally in areas such as climate change, where China's President Xi Jinping is standing with Europe, and America's President Donald Trump isn't. But others worry that China may be driving Europe apart from America because it exploits its links with certain countries to make foreign policy hard in areas such as human rights. We argue that actually both extremes are wrong - both the naive extreme and the hostile extreme. Instead Europe needs to find something of a middle path. It should resist Chinese protectionism, not mimic it but remain open because openness is a strength but at the same time it needs to be watchful over Chinese investments to make sure that they do not threaten national security. We also need transparency to see when China is giving money to political parties, to departments in universities, to media, or think tanks. And America has a role in this too. At the moment under President Donald Trump it tends to look at Europe as a free rider that's sponging off American power. In fact, Europe is a useful and vital ally in areas such as trade intellectual property and security. China sometimes has a policy of divide and rule but if Europe speaks as one then it can stand up to China for decades to come. A prosperous United Europe can make the world more stable. A divided weakened Europe spells trouble. Daily Watch: mind-stretching short films throughout the working week. For more from Economist Films visit: http://films.economist.com/ Check out The Economist’s full video catalogue: http://econ.st/20IehQk Like The Economist on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Th... Follow The Economist on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theecon... Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/t... Follow us on Medium: https://medium.com/@the_eco...
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