The European Union will announce this Wednesday its global investment and partnership plan in infrastructure of 300 billion euros (341 billion dollars) of Europe, which competes with a huge plan from China to seek to counteract the influence of the Asian giant, especially in Africa and Asia.
The initiative “Global Gateway”(Global gate) proposes mobilize and support projects that boost trade and ties between Brussels and partner countries around the world for six years, according to a Commission document.
The plan, launched in September by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, aims to rival the China Belt and Road Initiative, which has promoted projects linking Asian, African and other countries in a network. global trade with Beijing. This initiative has drawn criticism from some recipient countries, who claim that the projects have been overvalued, lead to unsustainable debt and are marred by corruption, all with the aim of increasing the presence of the Xi Jinping regime.
Although the documents do not specifically mention China, Brussels stresses that Global Gateway is a democratic alternative and “seeks to forge links and not create dependencies.”
“We are pretty good at financing roads, but it doesn’t make any sense for Europe that we build a perfect road between a Chinese copper mine and a Chinese-owned port.“Von der Leyen said in September. “We are entering a new era of hyper-competitiveness, an era in which some stop at nothing to gain influence.”
The money for Global Gateway will come from the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus, known as EFSD +, which includes a new initiative with the European Investment Bank, financing in the form of grants, investments from European financial and development institutions and multilateral development banks. .
According to the Commission document, EU funds will be offered under “fair and favorable conditions to limit the risk of indebtedness” and “will invest in projects that can be carried out with a high level of quality, good governance and transparency”.
Among the planned projects are fiber optic cables, clean transportation corridors and clean power transmission lines.
In addition to geopolitical interest, there are also financial advantages for Europe, whose companies will reach new markets by taking advantage of new infrastructure, and will have access to new raw materials and possibly cheaper fuels.
Germany’s ambassador to the EU, Michael Clauss, stated that “Global Gateway has the potential to make the EU a more effective geopolitical actor.” “For many partner countries, offering ocular-level norms and values-based cooperation will be an attractive alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative.”
“The EU’s connectivity strategy must prioritize and focus on what is most essential, instead of trying to do everything at the same time,” said BusinessEurope (an employers’ organization representing 40 organizations from 35 countries) in a statement, adding that a specific approach would be more productive. For this reason, he urged policy makers to involve companies, to use innovative financing mechanisms, to take into account other criteria in addition to the purchase price when awarding projects and to block offers from countries that do not allow the reciprocal access to their projects.
(With information from Reuters)
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