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15 Nov, 2021 11:23

EU to lay out plan to rival China

EU to lay out plan to rival China

The European Union (EU) will announce a new overseas infrastructure investment program this week which aims to compete with China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative.

The EU’s so-called “Global Gateway” will focus on digital transition, clean energy conversion, transport, people-to-people connections, and trade and resilient supply chains, Nikkei Asia reports, citing the draft.

According to the draft, the EU “seeks to promote transparency and balance increasing investments from other players, which use connectivity to promote their own different economic and societal model and advance their political agenda.” The bloc also wants to “reduce strategic dependencies.”

The EU sees its new infrastructure plan as an alternative to the Chinese flagship Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the ‘New Silk Road.’

In July, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels: “We see China using economic and financial means to increase its political influence everywhere in the world. It’s useless moaning about this, we must offer alternatives.”

Later in September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during the annual State of the Union address: “We are good at financing roads. But it does not make sense for Europe to build a perfect road between a Chinese-owned copper mine and a Chinese-owned harbour. We have to get smarter when it comes to these kinds of investments.”

READ MORE: China’s investment in new Silk Road countries exceeds $130 BILLION

China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which was announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to boost connectivity and cooperation between East Asia, Europe, and East Africa. It is expected to significantly expand global trade, cutting trading costs in half for the countries involved. China is also working on the Digital Silk Road and the Polar Silk Road as part of the initiative.

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