BRUSSELS – Some European countries are starting to block China’s involvement in their economies, moving closer to the positions defended by the United States amid growing anxiety in Europe over China’s increasingly aggressive geopolitical posture .
Governments from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea recently canceled tenders that Chinese state-owned companies were about to win, or are in the process of banning Chinese companies from investing or contracting in their country.
The changes were prompted by a mixture of national security concerns and disappointment with the performance of Chinese contractors, officials involved in the decisions say. Several of the canceled projects fall under China’s global infrastructure initiative, Belt and Road, which has disappointed several participating countries.
Much of the change is taking place in smaller European countries, adding to tensions within the European Union, where large countries are still largely in favor of maintaining trade ties with China.
Romania and Lithuania are taking general measures to exclude Chinese companies from certain government contracts. Other movements are more targeted. Authorities in Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Romania have suspended public tenders involving Chinese companies for work on nuclear power plants, highways, rail lines, security scanners and a container terminal maritime. Greece is questioning whether it will allow a Chinese shipping company to increase its majority stake in the country’s largest port.