What is needed?
So far, discussion around the threat that COSCO poses for Europe’s security and sovereignty has revolved around the fact that it is a Chinese state-owned enterprise and China’s shipping industry is highly controlled by the state.
Instead, the focus should be on the lack of enforcement of EU regulation and better engagement of local stakeholders, especially small businesses and civil society.
That is, the problem is not necessarily that better regulation is needed, but that better mechanisms should be put in place so that the existing regulation is enforced and properly overseen. This would help ensure a better balance between economic growth and local stakeholders.
This could come in the form of increased regulation, where there is a regulatory gap and regulatory overseeing, so that labour conditions, security and climate adverse consequences are avoided.
Systematic dialogue with civil society organisations and labour unions could also lessen any confrontation towards Chinese investment.