Dependency on Beijing’s Goodwill

Toxic Mix of Private Business, Politics and Chinese Influence Operations in CEE

26 October 2020

The European Commission has approved of a very important merger – between a powerful Chinese ally and Czech billionaire, Petr Kellner and the influential media group, Central European Media Enterprises. This could result in the manipulation of public opinion in favour of China all over the CEE region. What leverage has Beijing on Kellner? What are the security consequences of this merger for the EU? And why should the West care?

On 28 October 2019, PPF Group announced that its fully owned subsidiaries signed an agreement to acquire CME, an influential media group operating in the CEE region. A Special General Meeting of Shareholders confirmed the acquisition on the 27 February in Bermuda.

On 6 October, the European Commission approved of this merger leaving the last safety check on the anti-monopoly offices of each of the countries which this merger concerns.

Petr Kellner is the richest Czech, businessman and owner of the PPF group. Despite his declared political neutrality, Kellner is a highly influential shadow persona with considerable connections across the political spectrum with a proven track record of attempts to influence politics favourably to his business intentions.

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Adéla Klečková

Adéla Klečková is a security analyst with a focus on hybrid warfare. Currently, she is researching new forms of civic activism in the virtual space as a non-resident fellow of the German Marshall Fund and pursuing her MA degree at the War Studies Department at the King's College London. She works as the Critical Thinking Program Director at the “Together for Czechia” think tank.

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