Concerns over the apparent “lack” of transparency of Beijing towards its “Belt and Road Initiative” may have motivated the European Union to push through with own program that aims to push the boundaries of connectivity between Asia and Europe. This is courtesy of the observation of some diplomatic experts that believe this is the EU’s way of assuring any infrastructure and trade programs between Asia and Europe are crystal clear.
The affirmation towards this push however will likely be made clear once German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a visit for China this month, as this is one of the issues expected to be tackled between the Chancellor and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who can be remembered to be the proprietor of the project.
Meanwhile, the European Commission released a document last February seeking the opinion of the public about something called the Europe-Asia Connectivity initiative, which the Commission seeks to enact as early as July, and by the European Council as early as October 2018. This will also likely be presented in October’s Asia-Europe Summit to be conducted in Brussels.
Europe-Asia Connectivity Plan: A Few Birds In One Stone
If implemented, the Connectivity initiative will likely help the EU make the shift it needs when it comes to dealing with Asia-based foreign policy issues, including the ones with China, in order to properly make decisions with a more unified voice.
The decision to opt for the Connectivity initiative may likely be due to the 27 of 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing denouncing the China plan, with a supposedly signed document detailing their concerns about the plan giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage, and even imposing hampers on free trade. Another concern is how some industries feel as though the China plan left little room for EU-based local contractors to get involved as well, or even shut out from their own regions.
Frans-Paul van der Putten of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations said however that it may be important to look at the EU plan not as a counter to China’s, but rather as one of the many options for inter-regional development. The creation of the plan might be the EU’s way of expressing its dismay that a lot of countries think China is the major source of investment in the matter, when the EU have resources to offer on its own.
Part of the push for the EU plan is also likely due to how it can at least align itself with the goals of other nations in the region. Things such as transparency in public procurement and proper labor and environment can be tackled much more coherently with the EU plan. The plan will also include matters resolving issues on cultural exchanges, trade, and security, among others.
Despite the positive remarks about the EU plan, there are still a few points to fix and consider. This is especially since the plan itself is still in its conceptualization phase, and officials and representatives will still have to iron out the entire procedure and measures effectively to meet the demands of all parties involved. There are likely going to be debates as to the contribution and what sort of benefits each participant will receive, especially so if this gets through the European Council.
Articles You May Like: