Global Gateway - EU alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative

With its Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, Chi­na has in­vest­ed a lot of mon­ey in in­fra­struc­ture projects in many coun­tries. Now the EU is set­ting a strong geopo­lit­i­cal coun­ter­weight with its ri­val project Glob­al Gate­way. The EU wants to in­vest 300 bil­lion eu­ros in emerg­ing and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, health, en­er­gy, and trans­port. The project should on the one hand be able to meet lo­cal needs and on the oth­er ad­dress glob­al chal­lenges, says EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Ur­su­la von der Leyen. This is a new strate­gic ap­proach to in­vest­ment. Un­like Chi­na, the EU wants to in­volve the pri­vate sec­tor in fi­nanc­ing. The coun­tries in which in­vest­ments are made should have a trust­wor­thy part­ner in the EU. Van der Leyen em­pha­sizes that Glob­al Gate­way should give the EU coun­tries a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

How re­al­is­tic is this plan in view of Chi­na’s enor­mous ef­forts? The Eu­ro­pean re­sponse dif­fers in two main re­spects, ex­plains Ralph Ossa: “First, in terms of in­vest­ment vol­ume. The Chi­nese plan is about three times larg­er than the Eu­ro­pean one. The sec­ond ma­jor dif­fer­ence lies in the in­vest­ment pri­or­i­ties. The Chi­nese are in­vest­ing pri­mar­i­ly in trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture. The Eu­ro­peans are fo­cus­ing dif­fer­ent­ly, for ex­am­ple on dig­i­tal­iza­tion.” Ac­cord­ing to Ossa, the EU can of­fer a valu­able al­ter­na­tive with its pro­gram for those coun­tries that have had no choice but to co­op­er­ate with the Chi­nese be­cause they ur­gent­ly need the in­fra­struc­ture projects.

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