European official moots takeover protection for key sectors

27th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Europe's industry commissioner Antonio Tajani urged Monday in an interview that strategic sectors be protected against foreign takeovers, in particular by China.

Europe should establish "an authority tasked with examining foreign investments in Europe" using the the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States as a model, Tajani told the German business daily Handelsblatt.

"Chinese companies have the means to buy more and more European enterprises with key technologies in important sectors," Tajani noted.

"It is a question of investments but behind that there is also a strategic policy, to which Europe should respond politically," the Italian added.

A European authority would determine "if the acquisition (of a company) with European know-how by a private or public foreign company represented a danger or not," the commissioner said.

China said last week that it could invest in European sovereign debt to help the eurozone come through a crisis, and Chinese companies are keen on buying others in Europe, one example being the purchase of the Swedish carmaker Volvo by Geely.

© 2010 AFP

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