The EU response to the Silk Road, Sisci: “Opportunities for Italy”

Sinologist: “Global Gateway is a revolutionary initiative, China is reaping the benefits of a distracted and sometimes arrogant foreign policy”

“An initiative that can be revolutionary for Europe and the world”. And that “creates an opportunity for Italy”, while “China is reaping the benefits of a distracted and sometimes arrogant foreign policy”. Francesco Sisci, sinologist, professor of geopolitics at Luiss, comments with Adnkronos on the project launched by the European Commission, Global Gateway, a support plan for the construction of infrastructures at a global level with an endowment of “300 billion euros” from here to 2027, which should be an alternative to the Chinese Belt and Road Iniative promoted in 2013 by Xi Jinping.

A year has passed since the investment agreement announced by Brussels and Beijing in December 2020, an opening of the Chinese market to companies from EU member countries. It happened “under the pressure of Germany” and instead now “we are in the opposite situation”, comments Sisci. Europe, “apparently always under German pressure, launches a gigantic initiative that objectively contrasts China’s largest foreign policy initiative, the Silk Road, with theoretically greater funding” since “the Silk Road portfolio it had to be $ 100 billion. “

The sinologist speaks of Beijing’s “mismanagement” of the Silk Road project, which “had to be a common project to work, widely shared by the main political actors”, ie the United States, European countries, Japan and India. Instead, he observes, “these were precisely the countries that felt, rightly or wrongly, excluded from the Chinese project”. And he notes that there are now “two other competitive projects”, Global Gateway after Build Back Better World (B3W), the ‘made in USA’ challenge to the New Silk Road started by the G7 in Cornwall.

‘Hurry up infrastructure programs in the south, link Sicily and Europe to African development’

The Asian giant, he comments, is “in difficulty” because “the challenge facing China is not simply territorial, strategic or one of values, but one of development projection in the world”. The Chinese “are not” anyway with their backs to the wall because “they have so many resources” even if “at this point they should transform their Belt and Road project in a very real way and change their foreign policy and consequently also rearrange their internal politics”. If this does not happen, says the sinologist, European and American projects could “create more and more difficulties for the Chinese ones”.

Looking at Europe, Sisci underlines how “the new administration of Olaf Scholz, which evidently sponsored or blessed this initiative, immediately became the great leader of Europe”. And focusing his gaze on Italy, he insists on the “opportunities” of Global Gateway. “If the European infrastructure plan for developing countries, in particular for Africa, must and can work, it would be appropriate, almost essential, for it to be linked to a European infrastructure plan – he says – We really need a railway plan , fast infrastructures that connect Italy to Sicily and then Sicily to Tunisia “.

According to Sisci, Italy “should speed up its infrastructure programs in the South, its program for the construction of the Bridge over the Strait and link Sicily and therefore Europe to the development of Africa and vice versa”. Seize the opportunity because, he concludes, “a fast transport line from Oslo to Cape Town, made by Europe in an alliance with the United States, would be revolutionary for the whole world”. A “Euro-American project” to which in perspective “China and all the countries of the world should be linked”.