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EU fury: Ursula von der Leyen accuses China of launching attacks on European hospitals

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The European Commission President said the bloc would not “tolerate” the malicious activity. The accusations came after a virtual summit between EU leaders and Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang. At a post-summit press conference, Mrs von der Leyen fumed: “We have seen cyber attacks on hospitals and dedicated computer centres, and we know the origin of the cyberattacks.

“We put together the facts and the figures necessary to know.

The German said she had “pointed out” such attacks and Chinese disinformation campaigns in Europe “cannot be tolerated”.

Her intervention comes after the EU published a report earlier this month on the spread of fake news during the coronavirus pandemic.

The dossier hit out at China for targeting Europe with false narratives.

And in April, the bloc raised concerns about attacks on hospitals and coronavirus research facilities, without naming China.

Mrs von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel also discussed trade and human rights with their Chinese counterparts.

“The relationship between the European Union and China is simultaneously one of the most strategically important and one of the most challenging that we have,” Mrs von der Leyen told reporters.

Mr Michel added: “Progress is needed in many areas to rebalance this relationship.”

China claimed Brussels and Beijing have agreed to reach a comprehensive investment agreement before the end of the year.

Premier Li said: “Expanding two-way opening up on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual respect will help China and the EU better achieve mutual benefits and win-win results.”

He added that China hoped the EU would keep its investment markets open and relax export controls on Chinese goods to facilitate more bilateral trade.

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“We need to follow up on these commitments urgently and we also need to have more ambition on the Chinese side in order to conclude negotiations on an investment agreement.”

Europeans have expressed concerns about Chinese firms with state backing from Beijing being allowed to operate in the single market.

Last week the Commission put out a new proposal to crackdown on foreign-funded companies bidding on public procurement projects and launching buyouts of EU firms.



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