X

EU Suspends EU-China Friendship Group

February 8th, 2021 13:35

US media is report­ing that the EU-Chi­na Friend­ship Group was sus­pend­ed fol­low­ing a deci­sion by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment that the group was too close to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the POLITICO report:

Jan­u­ary 25, 2021 A con­tro­ver­sial group of Euro­pean law­mak­ers in favor of stronger ties between the EU and Chi­na was sus­pend­ed only days after POLITICO report­ed on its activ­i­ties, the chair of the group said Mon­day. POLITICO report­ed on con­cerns involv­ing the EU-Chi­na Friend­ship Group on Novem­ber 26, after Euro­pean Par­lia­ment offi­cials expressed con­cerns it was too close to the Chi­nese gov­ern­men­t’s for­eign affairs appa­ra­tus. Jan Zahradil, the Czech law­mak­er who heads the group, said dur­ing a hear­ing of Par­lia­men­t’s Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on For­eign Influ­ence on Mon­day that he decid­ed at the end of Novem­ber to put the forum on ice. The office of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent David Sas­soli con­firmed the pres­i­dent was noti­fied on Decem­ber 1. Zahradil said he sus­pend­ed the group “await­ing new trans­par­ent rules on func­tion­ing of all those infor­mal friend­ship groups.” Euro­pean Par­lia­ment offi­cials expressed con­cerns because of Zahradil’s high-rank­ing posi­tion as vice chair on the trade com­mit­tee dur­ing crunch nego­ti­a­tions over the EU-Chi­na Com­pre­hen­sive Agree­ment on Invest­ment that was agreed last month.

Read the rest here.

The GIOR first report­ed on Zahradil in Novem­ber 2020 when POLITICO first iden­ti­fied him as an agent of Chi­nese influ­ence in the Euro­pean Parliament.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed in Octo­ber 2020 that a Chi­nese-Aus­tralian com­mu­ni­ty leader had become the first per­son charged with a for­eign inter­fer­ence offense under news laws estab­lished in 2018.

The GIOR also report­ed in Octo­ber 2020 on a high-rank­ing Ger­man offi­cial said to have sup­pressed a 2018 report on Chi­nese influ­ence in Germany.