Belt and road

The EU’s naive response to China’s Belt and Road initiative

Britain’s top spy chief Richard Moore warned this week of the growing threat that China poses to the West. Besides the risk of cyber-warfare, the Communist country has been pumping huge sums across the globe as part of its Belt and Road strategy. Now, the EU has hit back: announcing a rival to the initiative to counter Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere. Brussels’ ‘Global Gateway’ looks at how the EU can leverage billions of euros, taken from member states, financial institutions and elsewhere, to rival the Belt and Road initiative. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late. During the years I spent working in Africa, I saw first-hand how widespread

Why is the EU copying China’s Belt and Road initiative?

Much like Mark Twain’s apocryphal quote about arguing with idiots who ‘drag you down to their level and beat you with experience,’ Europeans should think twice about whether they want to try to compete with China when it comes to the use of economic power in pursuit of geopolitical ends. ‘It’s useless moaning about it,’ the German foreign minister Heiko Maas (correctly) told journalists last week, when discussing Chinese economic power at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. The EU foreign ministers tasked the European Commission on Monday with preparing a European ‘strategic response’ to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Provisionally dubbed ‘A Globally Connected Europe’ –

How coronavirus could change the global order

As much as it is a threat, Coronavirus is also an opportunity. This clear demonstration of the chaos that the unseen can cause both advanced and developing nations gives global leaders the chance to reset positions and behaviour. In Coronavirus and Sars, China has been at the epicentre of genuinely life-changing diseases. The circumstances in which these illnesses developed are completely at odds with the animal welfare and health and safety regulations common in most developed nations. Western diplomacy might, if used judiciously, change Chinese behaviour while Beijing is on the defensive The trade in snakes, pangolins, bats and other wild animals has been outlawed by the Chinese authorities. Beijing has