The EU warned in the spring that the Chinese would get involved
Brussels, Berlin In the spring, the EU Commission warned the federal government not to sell shares in a Hamburg Port Terminal to the Chinese state shipping company Cosco for sale. In its assessment, the Commission pointed out that sensitive information about the port business could flow to China, the Handelsblatt learned from people familiar with the matter.
In addition, the Brussels experts had put forward the argument that the port of Hamburg was not only of civil but also military importance. Therefore, special caution is required when entering a Chinese investor.
The federal government is currently having to decide whether to approve the deal. All departments have spoken out against it. The Chancellery alone sees no valid reasons for a ban. The port of Hamburg fears a competitive disadvantage, in Antwerp and Rotterdam Cosco is already involved in a terminal.
Brussels does not want to accept this argument. Times have changed, they say. Greater importance is attached to the protection of critical infrastructure in the EUsince Russia the energy partnership with Germany used as a tool of extortion.
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The responsible departments in the Federal Ministry of Economics are still convinced that rejection is the only right option. The argument that Cosco would only become a minority owner is not to be counted. “Ask Bayernoil,” says a government official.
Port conflict has been keeping Ampel busy for some time
What is meant is the operating company of the Vohburg and Neustadt Donau refineries in Bavaria, in which the German subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company Rosneft has a stake. According to the Economics Ministry, Rosneft used its minority stake to put pressure on Germany.
The conflict between the Economics Ministry and the Chancellery over the port of Hamburg has been smoldering for two months, according to Handelsblatt information. For the cabinet meeting on August 24, the ban on the Cosco participation was already on the provisional agenda. The document is available to the Handelsblatt. Even back then, all the relevant ministries are said to have followed the Economics Ministry’s suggestion, with the exception of the Chancellery. last had WDR and NDR reported on the dispute.
More: The Scholz dilemma – resistance to the Chancellor’s China strategy is growing