Malta’s Embassy in Brussels was being used by China’s secret services to spy on European Institutions, according to grave allegations in France’s Le Monde newspaper.
Belgian state security services have been reportedly tracking the Maltese embassy since the start of the 2010s.
China built and renovated the nine-storey building which has housed the Maltese delegation since 2007. The Chinese also provided furniture and fittings, along with other equipment. The entire project cost 21 million euros.
It’s the ideal observation post for key European institutions. It overlooks the European Commission’s Headquarters and is right behind the headquarters of the Council of the European Union.
Malta’s former ambassador to the EU, Richard Cachia Caruana, told The Times of Malta that the article is “completely incorrect”. Cachia Caruana stressed that all furniture and fittings provided were scanned and checked.
However, Le Monde claims that the spying could have happened without the Maltese authorities’ knowledge.
The EU has a wary relationship with the Chinese, with large swathes of the bloc raising concerns over the nation’s growing presence especially when it comes to 5G. EU officials have reportedly received warnings of Russian and Chinese spies in Brussels in 2019.
Malta has strong ties to China. This was echoed by a spokesperson at Malta’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, who told Le Monde that Malta has a strong relationship with China, as with other countries, especially in terms of cooperation”. He did not comment on the allegations.
Huawei used the country to test its 5G capabilities. Meanwhile, Shanghai Electric Power, a Chinese state-owned energy company, bought a €320 million stake in Enemalta.
Its government has also revealed plans to take around 20,000 square meters of green land in Pembroke for its embassy.