Should Europe Regulate Sovereign Wealth Funds?

WIESBADEN – State-controlled investments from overseas – so-called sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) – are now the subject of intense debate. The United States and France have made their fears known. In Germany, too, the debate centers on SWFs’ political and economic significance for the country’s future.

The problem has been exacerbated by the growing wealth of a number of countries, some of them formerly run by socialist or communist regimes. China, Russia, India, and the Gulf States have integrated their wealth into the global economy, to the immense benefit of world trade.

The openness of Germany’s markets makes them especially attractive to global trade. This openness will not change, yet there are some who now call for new safety fences – in other words, for protection.

For example, Russian investors are interested in taking a massive share in the German-French aerospace company EADS, which is already 5%-owned by a Russian bank. For many, this proposal has underscored a change in investors’ behavior. But what, exactly, has changed?