The European Union has announced new investment agreements as part of a two-day forum on the Global Gateway, the bloc’s infrastructure partnership plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
New EU initiatives include agreements on critical raw materials with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia and on green hydrogen with Namibia, as well as cooperation on clean energy with Bangladesh and Vietnam.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen hosted more than 40 leaders and ministers from EU partner countries in Brussels on Wednesday for the first of two days of the summit, where she welcomed the EU’s efforts to finance and build clean infrastructure. Presented as a “better option”.
“The Global Gateway is about giving countries a choice and a better choice,” von der Leyen said. He said investment choices often come at a “high price” for the environment, workers’ rights and sovereignty.
“No country should face a situation in which the only option to finance its essential infrastructure is to sell its future,” he said.
The Global Gateway has earmarked up to €300 billion to support projects spanning critical raw minerals, green energy and transport corridors to boost EU trade and investment around the world.
The bloc aims to offer an alternative to Beijing’s global ‘Belt and Road’ investment program, promising quality investments without undermining countries’ sovereignty.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Taliban representatives to celebrate his Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion (€900 billion) EU plan. Three times the budget.
Critics say Beijing is adopting a policy of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’, which is causing developing countries to face unsustainable debt levels and increasing their strategic dependence on China. Eighteen EU member states are also part of the China initiative.
EU ministers absent
At the Global Gateway Forum, countries including Armenia, Namibia, Mauritania and Senegal were represented by heads of state, while Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia and Morocco were among the countries represented by their prime ministers.
But EU countries failed to match the diplomatic importance, with Germany sending its climate secretary and France its development secretary.
Tunisia was one of the North African countries not represented in the Forum, as follows Quarrel on a cooperation agreement, under which Tunisia returned €60 million in EU funds and banned EU officials from entering its territory.
In response to Tunisia’s no-show, a European Commission spokesperson said on Wednesday that “with Tunisia, in any case, we will continue to work under the MOU”, referring to the memorandum of understanding signed in July.
The inclusion of 20% Chinese-state-owned energy company Energias de Portugal (EDP) in Global Gateway’s trade advisory group was also questioned by the Commission on Wednesday. EU executives are working on a plan to ‘de-risk’ their supply chains and investments to reduce strategic dependence on China.
A spokesperson said, “There are no criteria to prevent a company with a minority stake from a non-European country from actually joining the trade advisory group.”
The Business Advisory Group consists of 60 companies tasked with guiding the Commission on its strategic investments.
The commission on Wednesday also rejected the notion that the plan was a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
“The Global Gateway is the EU’s offer to develop and make other investments in intelligent, useful infrastructure in our partner countries. This does not mean it is directed against anyone else, a spokesperson for the European Commission said.
While the Global Gateway has been welcomed as an ambitious plan to increase the EU’s global investment in clean technologies, a study on the program presented this week before the European Parliament criticized the plan for “how And don’t have a clear idea of how they work.” Can participate in it.”