China’s European Splurge Is Causing the EU Alarm

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China has been on a spending spree in Europe and the results are impressive.

Over the past decade, Chinese state-owned or private companies have invested more than $300 billion in Europe — far more than in the U.S. over the same period, according to the most comprehensive audit to date, compiled using Bloomberg data.

Yet Chinese purchases ranging from car manufacturers to soccer clubs, ports to robot makers present European governments with a dilemma. While outside investment is welcome, alarm bells are ringing in Berlin and Paris about the nature of the splurge.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are at the forefront of a push for tighter screening of outside investments to protect strategically important companies. Not everyone favors such moves, with opposition in countries such as Greece where China has a substantial presence.

As the proposed measures work through the European Parliament, barriers to China are going up from the U.S. to Australia. That means Europe may need to brace for a lot more Chinese investment yet, for better or worse.

Click here for our interactive visualization by Andre Tartar, Mira Rojanasakul and Jeremy Scott Diamond.

China’s European Splurge Is Causing the EU Alarm

Global Headlines

Europe’s full-court press | It’s a big week for European diplomacy with the continent’s most powerful leaders heading to Washington to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal and avert a global trade war. Macron arrives today for a three-day state visit and Merkel meets U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday looking to ram home the argument.

Managing expectations | Trump has tempered his optimism on North Korea, saying yesterday that “only time will tell” how things turn out. It was a shift in tone from Friday, when he hailed Kim’s pledge to halt nuclear testing as “big progress.” Kim’s move was widely seen as a largely symbolic gesture aimed at softening the ground for possible historic talks between the two leaders.

Travel-ban test | Fifteen months after Trump’s first travel ban set the in-your-face tone for his presidency, the controversy comes before the Supreme Court this week. The showdown over the limits of the president’s power to control who enters the country marks the biggest test yet of Trump’s relationship with the court, which so far has trodden lightly around his unconventional leadership style.

Sex, drugs and progressive policies | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s push to make Canada’s Liberal Party more “progressive” for 2019 federal elections may be going farther than he expected. Grassroots faithful at the usually centrist party’s weekend convention backed a host of left-leaning policies including decriminalizing drug possession and sex work. While party proposals may not translate into government policy, the measures may help marginalize a left-wing rival party as Trudeau seeks to frame the election as a two-horse race with the Conservatives.

Wounds reopened | Poland’s fragile peace with its Jewish population was shattered three months ago — on the eve of the 73rd anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation — when the parliament backed legislation that criminalizes any suggestion the nation was responsible for the Holocaust. Marek Strzelecki looks at the repercussions.

What to watch:

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee may take the unprecedented step of voting against a Secretary of State pick when it considers Mike Pompeo’s nomination today.
  • It’s the first week of campaigning in Turkey’s election, with the opposition in tatters and incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan likely to consolidate his authoritarian rule.

And finally... Jacob Zuma, who resigned as South Africa’s president in February and is now facing graft charges, has something to celebrate. His 22nd child was born last week on his 76th birthday, and Zuma’s making plans to marry the mother, who’s 24. The wedding will be his seventh — he currently has four wives, one divorced him and the other died.

China’s European Splurge Is Causing the EU Alarm

To contact the author of this story: Alan Crawford in Berlin at

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