Eyeing China, EU unveils 'Global Gateway' project worth $340 billion

WION Web Team
Brussels, BelgiumUpdated: Dec 01, 2021, 07:05 PM IST

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference at the EU headquarters in Brussels Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

The Belt and Road is a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping that was launched in 2013

The European Union has unveiled a project called ''Global Gateway'' that is worth 300 billion euros ($340 billion).

The project is being seen as a response to China's Belt and Road strategy.

According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ''It is the initiative Build Back Better World and the European Global Gateway that are reinforcing each other. We know that we build on the same principles and now we are looking into identifying together the most promising projects where we can invest in our common initiatives.''

The bloc will mobilise the financial aid in public and private infrastructure investment around the world.

''We want to make Global Gateway a trusted brand that stands out because of high quality, reliable standards, and high level of transparency and good governance,'' said Von der Leyen.

"We are deeply convinced that this will ensure that investment makes a real difference on the ground. And this that this is done in a sustainable way," she added.

Experts believe the strategy is an offshoot of a plan by G7 countries to offer developing countries an alternative to Belt and Road presented in June at the industrial powers' summit in Cornwall.

''It marks the first serious effort from the European side to put packages together and figure out financing mechanisms, so countries considering taking loans from China have an alternative option,'' as per Andrew Small, a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund.

The Belt and Road is a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping that was launched in 2013. 

Beijing has invested $139.8 billion in the project which is the centre-piece of Chinese foreign policy.

The Communist country claims it aims to develop land and sea infrastructure to better connect China to Asia, Europe and Africa for trade and development, and it has found many partners around the world.

However, the West believes it is a tool for China to influence poorer countries. 

They criticise Beijing for inciting emerging economies to take on too much debt and allege the secretive tender process is prone to corruption.

China argues that it respects its partners' sovereignty while providing loans that benefit joint projects, while critics say Beijing's contractual terms ignore abuses of human, labour, and environmental rights. 

(With inputs from agencies)