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  • Earlier this month, Germany sent medical personnel and equipment to Portugal.

  • The goal was to assist a fellow EU member state with its covid crisis.

  • But now it seems the mission has also benefited a Chinese owned luxury hospital in Lisbon, D.

  • W.

  • John Philip Schultz reports German soldiers sent into battle against Covid, 19 in Portugal's capital city Lisbon.

  • It's an act of solidarity between two EU countries, but as we discovered, there are also a small part of a much bigger story of Chinese investments that reach around the world.

  • This is what those German soldiers were probably expecting.

  • Portugal's public health system is struggling to cope.

  • Ambulances lined up outside completely overwhelmed hospitals.

  • But this is where the soldiers are fighting the disease.

  • A five star private hospital, this is the hospital da Luz.

  • It's where football legend Christiano Ronaldo came for an operation on his foot some years ago.

  • On its website, the hospital says it is proud to be continuing all of its normal services despite the pandemic.

  • Those services cover a wide range from cancer treatment to cosmetic surgery.

  • Not only that, in its latest annual report, the hospital says it will continue to focus on profitability Despite the pandemic, the hospital isn't providing the intensive care unit for nothing.

  • The Portuguese government is paying.

  • The operating company behind the hospital is in the hands of a Chinese conglomerate.

  • We asked the Health Ministry representative who was paying for what?

  • There is an agreement with a private hospital.

  • Yes, to have the patients here, so you have to pay the private money that you can use the because we are using their services.

  • The hospital did not want to speak with us offering a statement instead.

  • Lose Saudi Group, considering the critical stage that Portugal is going through, does not intend to benefit financially from the situation, but above all to help the country.

  • Chinese conglomerates on many healthcare companies in Portugal a trend that worries a number of observers.

  • Rui Barros, an investigative journalist, found out that in the first six months of the pandemic, the Portuguese government paid to the loose salute group around €40 million for Covid 19 services.

  • It's interesting to see that these three biggest the company, these three companies that got the most amount of money well, actually obviously connection to China and China.

  • What this was really at a key role on the other, the other Portuguese government handled the pandemic.

  • Do you think this will increase your apps and Portugal's dependency on China?

  • I think it's a debate that, as Europeans, we should be.

  • We should be having.

  • They are just 26 military medics sent from one European country to another, but their work offers a glimpse of a new reality that reality is of EU countries relying on a hospital owned by Chinese companies as part of their for profit business.

  • Quick.

  • Well, our report.

  • They're looking at one example of Chinese investments in the EU and the questions that they raise.

  • Let's talk about that trend now with Clifford Coonan from D W Business.

  • Hi, Clifford.

  • Tell us, first of all, more about the backdrop here this EU China trade agreement.

  • What is that?

  • And what is it going to do?

  • Well, China is now the EU's biggest trading partner.

  • It's just overtaken the United States, and the aim of the trade pact is to level the playing fields as far as Europe is concerned, because China did have some advantages in trade and it will also give each each the EU and China greater access to each other's markets.

  • So that's the background to this.

  • And how has the pandemic affected Chinese business and influence in the EU?

  • Well, the pandemic has left the Chinese economy as the only major economy that's actually growing, uh, in any significant way.

  • So it's given China a lot of economic muscle, and it's also given it quite a lot of political muscle.

  • With the trade pact is one example you know, where the EU overrode some of the U.

  • S.

  • Concerns about the trade pact, for example, because they wanted to allied themselves closer with the EU instead, the EU is sort of going it alone.

  • And a lot of that is down to the fact that China has developed this economic muscle because of the pandemic.

  • And the you boss bought vast quantities of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, personal protective equipment and medical supplies from China as a direct result of the pandemic, which is really boosted imports and that trend looks set to continue.

  • So I think in broad terms the pandemic has really accelerated Chinese business and giving it the kind of influence that it would have taken.

  • It was probably going to happen anyway, but it definitely would have taken considerably longer had had it not been for the pandemic so beyond the pandemic.

  • How are Chinese investments translating into political influence in Europe?

  • Well, one thing was I spent 15 years in China, is a correspondent, and every year, annually every year the German government would arrive with a huge trade delegation, and it was just really obvious to see the close links between trade and political influence.

  • And I think that we've seen that.

  • You know, we see that different.

  • We see the dye.

  • Miller, for example, is its biggest shareholder, is a Chinese tycoon with very close government links and also the Beijing Auto, a state owned car company.

  • So, um and we also have Huawei, which is another example where, even though it's been controversial in the US in the EU, a lot of companies have brushed aside sort of US concerns about security and are using Huawei because China's political influence is now so strong in Europe.

  • So I think that Chinese investments directly translate in many ways into political influence, and and that's something that's probably going to continue.

  • We have to wait and see Of course, what happens with EU relations with the US But for the moment when all these factors are brought together, the situation is that the EU is definitely looking to boost its its relations with China, and China's influence is set to expand incredibly over the next few years.

  • D w business reporter Clifford Coonan.

  • Thank you so much.

  • Yeah.

Earlier this month, Germany sent medical personnel and equipment to Portugal.

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Chinese investments in Europe fuel debate over dependency on China | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/28
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