Danas Newspaper: Chinese Want to Take Over Air Serbia, EU Reaction a Problem | Beta Briefing

Danas Newspaper: Chinese Want to Take Over Air Serbia, EU Reaction a Problem

Source: Beta
Archive / SEE Business | 16.12.20 | access_time 12:14

Air Serbia's plane

The official Beijing would like one of the three biggest Chinese state-run airline companies to purchase Etihad’s stake in Air Serbia, the Danas newspaper reported on Dec. 16, quoting well-informed sources close to the Serbian government.

The paper also says that the Chinese would like to purchase the 49-percent stake in the former JAT company and thus consolidate their position of a big investor in Serbia, following the acquisition of the Smederevo Steel Mill and the RTB Bor Mining Complex. In this way, according to the report, they would enter the European airline market through the back door.

“It would be favorable for the Serbian state if a big Chinese carrier would become the owner of and begin managing Air Serbia. Accordingly, the Serbian government would not object if Etihad decided to sell its stake to them. The government, which is the majority owner, however, is hesitant to agree to such a move, i.e. accept a Chinese company as a new partner, since there is a possibility of Brussels reacting negatively to the deal,” the paper’s source said.

Danas adds that “it is known that the European Union is skeptical when it comes to Chinese investments in the Old Continent countries, seeing this as Beijing’s expansionist policy and perceiving the companies from that country as prone to unfair competition and violation of the market rules in the EU.”

According to the paper’s report, Brussels expects from its partners, such as Serbia, which wants to become a member, to follow the same policy. This is, the report adds, why the Serbian government had decided not to respond positively to Beijing’s offer, nor to inform the public about it.

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