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From Paolo Valentino

Divided German government: Should or not buy 35% of a Hamburg port terminal, infrastructure of national interest? The chancellor, the city’s former mayor, is in favor. Minister of the Interior and Defense against

TheThe road to hell is paved with good intentions. The person Germany chose to go there Paved with economic agreements. Doesn’t seem to be of much use The geopolitical lesson of Russiawith which Berlin has become associated over the past 30 years hands and feet for power supply. One-way addiction and paid a heavy price in the past nine months, after the start of the war in Ukraine when Methane has become a sharpened weapon in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

Now Germany risks making the same mistakes with China. A deep contradiction divides the federal government, faced with the dilemma of whether to delegate or not Chinese group Cosco buys 35% of Tollerort, the smallest of the four container terminals in the port of Hamburg. The split finds that Chancellor Schultz on the one hand Hamburg was mayor and was in favor of giving the green lightOn the other hand, six competent ministries oppose the sale Vital infrastructure in Beijing. It is worth noting that in addition to foreign and economy (led by the Greens), transportation and justice, led by the liberals It also does not come from the interior and defenseBoth are headed by ministers from the SPD and Schulze’s party.

The Greens and the Liberals are putting strong pressure on Schultz to block the deal, warning of the risks. We must not repeat the same mistakes of the past, made us dependent on countries that could one day blackmail us, said the Minister of Economy and Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck, aware of recent experience with Russiawhich owns and operates infrastructure on federal lands such as gas depots and oil refineries, has now been expropriated. The most obvious is the liberal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann: No significant German infrastructure should fall under the control of the Chinese government.

The opposition front, which also includes the European Commission which gave a negative opinion about the operation in the spring, suggests that Cosco is not just a company looking for profits. It is in fact the pearl of Chinese state capitalism, the spearhead of Beijing’s global ambitions and the main tool in achieving Maritime Silk RoadWith which China wants to become the superpower in commercial shipping. COSCO is already the second largest operator in this sector in the world in terms of cargo volume.

The arguments of the proponents are somewhat defensive. On Friday in Brussels, Chancellor Schulz made it clear that the order would only involve participation in one terminal, similar to what is happening at other ports in Western Europe. COSCO – the largest shareholder in the ports of Zeebrugge in Belgium, Piraeus in Greece and Valencia in Spain. It owns other minority stakes in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bilbao and Fado Ligure. According to Hamburg Mayor Peter Chencher, Too close to Schulz, refusing the agreement would be economic punishment for Hamburg against Rotterdam and Antwerp. In any case, the mayor adds, control will remain in the hands of HHLA. According to many observers, Schulze does not want his successor to be oppressed and protected.

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But Germany’s problem with Beijing is much bigger than the Hamburg port issue. The only strategy that German governments have pursued in the past twenty years toward China In fact, the goal was to ensure their business profits. Now Olaf Scholz has given Foreign Minister Annalina Barbock the task of developing a new strategic thinking, based on the principle that Germany cannot be existentially dependent on countries that do not share its values. It is a pity that in the meantime, business as usual. Indeed, in early November, Scholz He will be the first Western leader to visit China since the end of the epidemic, Meet Xi Jinping in person. Should it be clarified? The chancellor will bring with him a large crowd of German entrepreneurs who are ready to sign contracts and memoranda of understanding. Europe will be far away. Some vices seem incurable.

Oct 24, 2022 (change on Oct 24, 2022 | 23:19)