Multi-billion EU bid to challenge Chinese influence

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The EU is to reveal details of a global investment plan that’s widely seen as a rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Insiders say it’ll set out “concrete” ideas on digital, transport, climate and energy schemes.

It’s regarded as part of the West’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the “Global Gateway” initiative on Wednesday.

The EU is looking at how it can leverage billions of euros, drawn from member states, financial institutions and the private sector.

Mrs von der Leyen said in her State of the Union speech in September: “We want investments in quality infrastructure, connecting goods, people and services around the world.”

Wednesday’s 14-page document isn’t likely to explicitly pitch itself as a rival to China’s strategy. The Commission also studiously avoided mentioning China when pressed about the plans on Tuesday.

But Andrew Small, a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, says the backdrop is inescapable: “Global Gateway wouldn’t exist if you didn’t have Belt and Road.”

For him 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”.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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