A new undersea fiber optic data cable spanning the ocean between Southern Europe and Latin America will come online this month – and the timing could be much more fun.
The 150 150 million AllLink project is supported by public donors, including the European Investment Bank. It will be broadcast live as a renewal of cooperation between the EU and its allies in international infrastructure projects to address China’s Belt and Road Initiative, under which Beijing has increased its influence around the world.
The objective is to enhance cooperation between the EU and its allies, including Japan, the United States and India, and to support high-quality projects in low- and middle-income countries. It is expected that the theme will be large on the agenda at the EU and G7 summits in May and June. The EU and its partners will try to give the drive what it has so far been without deficits, Biden said, adding to the agenda at the G7 summit in the UK this summer.
“So far we have been trying to replace the belt and the road with a lot of gossip and high-profile paperwork,” said a senior EU diplomat. “But unfortunately there is no real geopolitical strategy or plan that is consistent and consistent. We need to work together on infrastructure projects and avoid over-reliance on China. “
Lindsay Gorman, an associate of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an advocacy group, said that “every road that China builds to prevent it” can only succeed if it is more focused and imaginative than just trying. Instead, the European Union and its allies should focus on key areas such as digital to prevent China’s authoritarian access to Africa, Central Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe.
“These are less physical roads than digital highways that fuel suppression systems,” he added: “It’s really going to be about putting significant capital behind it – and identifying the strategic areas where we can do the best we can.”
BRI has become strategic Tool For Beijing since its inauguration in 2013, dozens of countries have signed up for China-backed projects such as railways, bridges and ports. It is supported by more than 150 countries and international organizations, including more than 50 EU countries. Beijing has expanded the concept with initiatives including the Digital Silk Road, Polar Silk Road and Green Silk Road.
The response of the international powers is one The infrastructure alliance between the EU and India is expected to reach an agreement This month. Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies also commented that there was “clearly an opening” for Europe to work more closely with the United States under the Biden administration.
The latest push for an alternative to BRI comes after achieving some tangible results from previous efforts. Although the EU launched a connectivity plan in 2018 and signed a partnership with Japan in 2019, it has not even built flagship projects in third countries. The United States has little to do with the Blue Dot Network initiative to prove the infrastructural standards passed by the Building Act in 2018 and the United States next year with Japan and Australia to increase private sector investment in poor countries.
Critics say the EU and its allies are too late. Beijing has run the BRI for more than seven years and has long prioritized international infrastructure, especially in Africa.
The growing reaction against the Chinese project is that supporters of a strong Western drive counter offer a second chance because some recipient countries complain that the terms of the BRI debt are strict and lack building and environmental standards.
The hurdle, however, is that while most EU member states, including France and Germany, are in favor of expanding the bloc’s partnership, some officials argue that the BRI should not only create new “hardware” to compete, but also build partnerships on a partnership basis.
“We now realize that this is not just infrastructural work. . . Opportunity to set standards, ”said a EU diplomat. “[Whoever] Rules are written world rules. ”
International powers, meanwhile, have a different take on China, with some caution about risking economic ties or creating security tensions in Asia. The United States has been vocal in calling for international cooperation against Beijing, but others, such as the EU and India, have been reluctant to join the anti-China alliance.
Other potential problems include funding. Government institutions such as the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank may provide some funding, but much will have to come from the private sector, officials say.
Analysts are also unclear how to persuade the United States and the EU not to sign up for Western-backed Chinese-backed projects, Hillman said: “If there is a domestic interest in doing so and China agrees to supply, how bad are you? Stop projects? It seems almost impossible. ”
All of this money is unlikely to be a single global infrastructure initiative as an alternative to BRI. A patchwork of separate but integrated bilateral and multilateral initiatives is probably more, officials say.
Reinhard Batikofar, chairman of the European Parliament’s delegation to China, said the latest pressure was more serious than ever.
“The Chinese made their way to the entrance because they had some proposals that we didn’t get,” Bathikoffer said.
“We learned a lesson from that. “We have a great opportunity to be a better partner of a few countries than the Chinese are ready.”