The E.U. Needs a United Approach on Foreign Investment to Gain China’s Respect, Macron Says

French President Emmanuel Macron Visits China
BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 09: French President Emmanuel Macron during a joint press briefing with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on January 9, 2018 in Beijing, China. At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron will pay a state visit to China from January 8th to 10th. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty Images)
Mark Schiefelbein—Pool/Getty Images

Europe needs a united approach in protecting its strategic assets from foreign takeovers if it wants to be respected by China, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

On the final leg of his three-day visit to China, Macron urged leaders from other European Union countries to be more careful about the assets they allow to be taken over.

“Europe has often shown itself divided about China,” Macron told the French community in Beijing. “And China won’t respect a continent, a power, when some member states let their doors freely open.”

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Macron is pushing for foreign investment in strategic sectors in the region to be screened at the EU level, but many poorer EU member states who rely on Chinese investment have sought to water it down.

“China, which is a great power, does not respect a country that sells its essential infrastructures to the lowest bidder,” he said.

EU hopes its negotiations on an investment pact with China will reach a “decisive stage” this year, the EU ambassador to the world’s second largest economy said separately on Wednesday, calling on Beijing to honour its pledge to open its economy to the world.

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