26 Members of the European Parliament sent a letter to Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations concerning the growing Chinese influence in Serbia and the impending environmental damage resulting from several heavy industrial projects in Serbia by Chinese owned companies.
The letter was initiated by Miriam Lexmann MEP (EPP/Slovakia) and Reinhard Biitikofer MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany), both co-chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). It draws attention to a number of Chinese heavy industry investments in and around Smeredovo, Bar and Kostolac, as well as the Shandong Linglong tire plant in Zrenjanin, and calls on the Commissioner to remind the Serbian government to adhere to its national legislation as well as EU rules as pertains to the accession process
According to Reinhard Butikofer, who is also the chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with China, ‘The Chinese heavy industry investments have taken air pollution to dramatic levels, whereas the quality of drinking water is under threat, putting in severe danger the well-being of numerous people living close to the plants. But this is not just a problem for the communities on the spot. No foreign investor must be allowed to ignore or bypass the common European standards that have been agreed on exactly because pollution and environmental damage do not care about national borders.’
`These investments and their impact are emblematic of China’s growing influence in Serbia and elsewhere. Chinese investment projects lack transparency and sustainability and, as well as environmental damage, they also have a corrosive effect on governance. This is why it is important that the European Union calls on the Serbian government to address the impact of these investments, as well as honouring and following both their own domestic legislation and the regulations passed down as part of the EU accession process’, said Miriam Lexmann MEP.
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