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> "The seemingly innocuous move comes at a sensitive time for Europe and the European Union, where there is suddenly a great deal of trepidation not only about China, but about working out how Europe or the EU should adapt and react to a changing world," Prof Frankopan told the BBC.

Forgive my ignorance, but aren't many EU decisions required to be unanimous? So if China has close ties to Italy, could it use it's influence to convince Italy to "veto" hypothetical EU sanctions against Chinese human rights violations or other actions that are good for the EU but against Chinese domestic and foreign policy?




Yes. That is my major concern. In fact, it has already happened! We have already Greece (with its China owned ports) blocking an EU statement:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-un-rights/greece-block...


In fairness, from the perspective of the average Greek citizen, the EU thing hasn't worked out terribly well for their homeland.

In the West what we need is to restructure our facilities such that if you participate you will prosper. We need for everyone to prosper. Not necessarily equally, but what happened to Greece went beyond simply not prospering as much as other nations. It was legitimately negatively impacted. (A lot self inflicted, but a lot inflicted by the structure of Western trade facilities as well.)

Having mentioned all that, I grant you, having all parties prosper at EU scale is a little difficult to pull off.


Also, the whole reason Greek ports are owned by China in the first place is that Germany forced the Greek government to sell them off to the highest bidder as part of their great economic fucking-over of Greece. So it's hard to have a huge amount of sympathy if this causes headaches for the core EU states.


...or maybe the reason Greece does not have enough money is because rich Greek don't pay their taxes?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Greece#Lagarde_l...


Germany only "forced" Greece in the sense that they didn't pay Greece's debts for them.


> Germany only "forced" Greece in the sense that they didn't pay Greece's debts for them.

Germany (and France) also knowingly gave Greece lots of loans, when it was obvious to everyone that Greece will never be able to pay them all back.


Germany the country, or private german banks?


German banks.


And in many other ways, starting from the ECU era, but that's too subtle for modern readers...


> In fairness, from the perspective of the average Greek citizen, the EU thing hasn't worked out terribly well for their homeland.

From the perspective of the average Greek citizen, the Greece thing hasn't worked out terribly well either.

> what we need is to restructure our facilities such that if you participate you will prosper

EU doesn't, yet at least, have enough power to take over whole countries then the country's government is shortsighted and is running their own country into a long term ruin for some short term temporary wins.


> [for Greeks] EU thing hasn't worked out

What didn't work out for Greeks was their corrupt politicians/elites and lack of sufficient oversight, including by EU institutions. All sorts of requirements that all EU members have to meet were never enforced for Greece.

From the time Greece joined the Euro (by cheating) to the start of the financial crisis, Greek GDP skyrocketed 2.3x. That's astounding, and pretty much unheard of. Of course it wasn't real, because there were no corresponding improvements in Greek economic efficiency or productivity.

I wrote about this at the time: https://blog.metaobject.com/2015/07/greek-choices-german-per...


We? Greece's prosperity is Greece's responsibility. That's where the buck stops.



Sounds fitting, since a lot of the blame here goes to germany who, despite big surpluses, did not invest in the south the way the chinese do


Yes. It occurred to me that the EU's expansion occurred during a lull in great power politics.


>Forgive my ignorance, but aren't many EU decisions required to be unanimous? So if China has close ties to Italy, could it use it's influence to convince Italy to "veto" hypothetical EU sanctions against Chinese human rights violations or other actions that are good for the EU but against Chinese domestic and foreign policy?

Yes, just like Germany does with its EU satellite states, and the US has done in Europe since WWII.


My partner works on EU matters for the German government. The idea that the other EU countries are "satellites" of Germany is ludicrous to anyone with any knowledge of the actual processes.




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