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Berlin considers protecting German firms from foreign state control

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Berlin considers protecting German firms from foreign state control

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Berlin is considering moves to prevent strategic companies there falling under foreign political influence when non-German state-controlled firms buy them. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she does not want to block such investment, but is considering more transparent control mechanisms such as those in the United States.

Merkel told reporters: “While the single driving force behind private investment is maximizing profits, foreign state controlled funds might seek political influence, which must be examined by the host country.” The German Finance Minister, Peer Steinbrueck, recently said Berlin could expand its foreign investment rules beyond the defence industry to include telecommunications, banking, energy and the post service. Merkel said she would like the EU to come up with a common definition of what are the key ‘strategic industries’ that need such protection.