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Parliamentary questions
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18 May 2020
Priority question for written answer P-003060/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Bart Groothuis (Renew), Malik Azmani (Renew)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Maltese embassy possibly compromised

On 15 May 2020, Le Monde published an article detailing suspicions that China had installed surveillance equipment in the Maltese embassy in Brussels. (1) The embassy was allegedly renovated with Chinese financial support back in 2007. According to the article, the Belgian authorities were informed by British intelligence of active Chinese surveillance equipment in the embassy. It is unclear whether the European institutions were informed by the Belgian authorities at that time.

The possible threat of Chinese spy activity in an EU embassy directly opposite the Berlaymont building constitutes a grave security risk, as many EU documents circulate through the building’s official lines of communication, diplomats from all countries gather there and sensitive documents flow through the embassy. Clarity is needed on this possible threat (2) .

1. Is there any indication that the Maltese embassy has been used by China as a forward operating base from which to spy on the EU and its Member States?

2. Does the Commission agree that a security review could help restore any trust that may have been damaged as a result of media attention to this matter, and will he ask for a full investigation into these allegations?

3. Does the Commission agree that allowing the Chinese state to pay for the renovation of an EU embassy introduces unacceptable security and political risks?

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