BBC News EU spends billions of euros to challenge China’s influence

  • Jessica Parker
  • BBC Brussels correspondent

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China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy has been extended to the Western Balkans, including Montenegro.

The European Union will announce details of a global investment plan that is widely seen as a competitor to China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative.

Informed sources said that the plan will present “concrete” plans in terms of numbers, transportation, climate and energy plans.

The plan is part of the West’s efforts to counter China’s influence in Africa and other regions.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will present the Global Gateway initiative on Wednesday.

The European Union is studying how to use billions of euros from member states, financial institutions and the private sector.

In his State of the Union address in September, von Dylan said, “We want to invest in high-quality infrastructure to connect goods, people, and services around the world.”

The 14-page document to be published on Wednesday is unlikely to clearly describe the European Union as a strategic opponent of China. When asked about these plans on Tuesday, the European Commission also deliberately avoided mentioning China.

But Andrew Small, a transatlantic researcher at the German Marshall Fund, said this backdrop is inescapable: “Without the Belt and Road Initiative, the global gateway would not exist.”

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative has long been at the center of China’s foreign policy, as the initiative works to develop trade links by investing in new roads, ports, railways and bridges.

This strategy has reached Asia, the Indo-Pacific region, Africa and even the European Union’s immediate neighbors in the Western Balkans.

The Belt and Road project has been criticized as a “loan predatory” method used in so-called “debt trap diplomacy”.

But some people think that the situation is more complicated and that borrowing large amounts of money is not without risk. In addition, China has also fulfilled needs that other countries cannot fulfill.

In any case, as tensions between China and the West intensified, so did China’s economic and geopolitical footprint.

Now, the EU will try to marshal its influence and resources, which Small said is a big test.

The question is whether the EU can really take action in this geopolitical field.

“Or is it too rigid and abstract due to internal bureaucratic conflict? If it fails in this respect, it would be a grave mistake.”

“Europe has finally proven its influence in the region,” a diplomat told me. “This is a good sign.”

“This is our common interest with our partners on the other side of the Atlantic in the United States and the United Kingdom.”

However, Scott Morris, a senior researcher at the Center for Global Development, said having a common interest could also mean more competition.

However, he has “hope” in the “Global Gateway” initiative. He said this was “more important” than competing with China, because this was an opportunity for Europe “to achieve large-scale financing, which could bring benefits to developing countries that need capital.”

The European Commission approved the EU plan on Wednesday, and von der Leyen will present the plan.

The EU made it clear that the plan would be implemented “based on values” and that it would be “open and transparent” in the process, saying it hoped to establish contacts rather than rely on them.

But this is also related to impact, as the European Commission continues to look for ways to project power in geopolitics, and you will also discover how powerful those strengths are.

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