Three government sources revealed that Global Times recently reported that the Italian government just rejected a deal to sell a military drone company to Chinese investors. This is the latest move by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to curb Beijing’s “advancement” into the euro zone’s third-largest economy. A 75 percent stake in Alpine Aircraft Manufacturing in northern Italy was sold to Chinese investors in 2018. After an investigation into the deal was launched last year, the Italian government recently approved the cancellation of the deal at a cabinet meeting. The Italian Cabinet determined that the transaction participants failed to notify the Italian government under the so-called “Golden Power” regulations. In addition to canceling the deal, the Italian government has imposed fines on the deal participants, according to officials familiar with the matter. The “Golden Power” regulations are said to be designed to protect strategically important assets. Since it was implemented in 2012, the “Golden Power” regulations have prevented foreign companies from entering Italy six times. It is worth noting that five of the six times were to prevent Chinese companies from bidding, and four of them happened after Draghi took office. Light aircraft and Strix mini-drones produced by Alpine Aircraft Corporation have been used by the Italian Air Force in Afghanistan. The company supplies high-tech drones for military use to Italian special forces and NATO.
Source: Global Times, March 12, 2022