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EU economy will suffer from terrorist attacks, but investment from China won’t stop

Global Times, Marc 24, 2016


The terrorist assaults that rocked Brussels on Tuesday will inevitably have an impact on the European economy, the prospects for which are already clouded by a possible British exit from the European Union, along with other substantial concerns.

However, the impact for Chinese tourists or investors coming to Europe, including Belgium, will only be transient. I believe there will still be considerable interest in China about traveling to or investing in Europe.

The European economy will suffer, as uncertainties are always bad for investment. It is possible that in the wake of the Brussels airport and subway attacks some companies might consider holding back on investment, as these were attacks at the heart of the EU, so they might lead to even deeper economic woes than those seen after the Paris attacks.

This will aggravate the difficulties the EU is already facing in maintaining its overall stability. There will be a referendum in the UK in June and there is a 50-50 chance that Britain might leave the EU.

In addition, other countries such as Greece, which is basically bankrupt, appear to be staring into the abyss. Furthermore, even strong economies like Germany are suffering.

But I would say that Chinese people are very pragmatic, and maybe in a few weeks when safety concerns have abated, they will still be coming. Even after the attacks in Paris, the overall situation was almost back to normal within a short period.

It's also noteworthy that Belgium won't suffer in the long term in terms of attracting investment from China, considering that Belgium has long been a hotspot in Europe for Chinese investment, especially for Chinese investors seeking opportunities in the financial sector.

In general, I think Chinese investors are more concerned about labor issues than about terrorist attacks.

Having said that, Europe should still be cautioned against the risk of more terrorist attacks in the future, given that London, a major international financial center, is one of the cities that is considered most at risk from possible terrorist attacks. To prevent Europe from being mired in more serious trouble, the relevant countries and regions should consider solutions to effectively address the issue of mounting terrorist concerns.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Li Qiaoyi based on an interview with Frank-Jürgen Richter, founder and chairman of Horasis, a Switzerland-based independent think tank, on the sidelines of the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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