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EU’s New Effort to Rival Chinese Influence

The European Union on December 1, 2021, unveiled EUR 300 billion investment towards infrastructure projects to developing countries between 2021 and 2027. This EU’s “Global Gateway” project focuses on sustainability, with emphasis on digital, climate and energy, transport, health, and education and research. According to the EU, they will provide investments for their partners to ensure benefits for local communities. While the EU did not name the Chinese “Belt and Road program” as their target, the statements released from the EU reveal their plan to compete with the 1 trillion dollars modern-day Silk Road by promoting “democratic values” through fair investments. EU’s Global Gateway comes just as the Chinese Belt and Road program rallies on in developing nations in Southeast Asia. In recent times, Laos opened its new $6 billion high-speed rail link on December 3, 2021, using loans from the Chinese Belt and Road program. In short, Beijing is increasing its influence on developing nations in Southeast Asia. Even though China’s project is a decade ahead of the EU’s project, Brussels aims to rival Beijing by offering public and private investments in contrast to Beijing’s loans. The Chinese Belt and Road program has been a concern to the Western communities, with Chinese soft power bringing disruptions to many economies. Many are concerned with the Chinese “debt trap” through their projects, with Sri Lanka’s sale of 70% stake and a 99-year lease of Hambantota port (Sri Lanka’s port) to a Chinese state firm cited as an example. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen offered her support to the EU’s Global Gateway as a part of global recovery, “The Global Gateway Strategy is a template for how Europe can build more resilient connections with the world.” Even though the EU is playing catch up, it comes at a time when G7 is also unveiling their infrastructure finance and investment project in developing countries.

Published by Jungen Ono

In a world full of political biases and outright lies, finding the truth and objectivities must be our focus for a more bipartisanship in our daily lives. "The Truth Lights The Darkness" Jungen Ono

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