This is the EU response to the Belt and Road Initiative
The European Commission will facilitate investments in infrastructure in Third World countries. Brussels is making some 300 billion euros available for this. This is part of the recently announced Global Gateway EU initiative.
According to Rail Suppliers’ Association UNIFE, rail companies have faced unfair competition in new markets for years, especially as they competed against companies heavily backed by foreign governments, such as in China. The organisation therefore welcomes this project of the EU.
Ensuring a level playing field
During the State of the Union 2021 Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented plans to counteract China. This should take the form of a European counterpart to the Chinese Belt and Road plan, known for the New Silk Road, also known as the Global Gateway. With this, Brussels wants to set up new connections, but then with attention to democratic decision-making, human rights and transparency. “We will support smart investments in high-quality infrastructure,” von der Leyen said of the plans earlier this week.
The Global Gateway initiative must ensure a level playing field, according to the interest group. The organisation does not mention the country by name, but seems to point mainly to the influence of the Chinese government and Chinese companies on, among other things, the African continent. However, UNIFE says that additional steps need to be taken to gain full access to new markets.
Brussels wants to make approximately 300 billion available for the Global Gateway initiative, including in the form of favorable loans and guarantees. They must convince investors to participate in the initiative. Incidentally, the Commission has its sights set on projects not only in Africa, but also in Asia and South America.