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China and the West : Europe has become the playing field of the competition

China's President Xi Jinping want to win Italy for the silk roads project, and on Saturday in Rome, an intention agreement for infrastructure projects under writing. What is the impact of the planned projects in China save in Italy or in the EU?

That Italy signed the agreement, is a major diplomatic gift to Beijing. Thus, the first EU-founding member and G7 economy legitimized China's geo-Economics, Spanish flagship project. This is for Beijing is politically important as a counter-weight to the world's increasing criticism. The "Belt and Road"Initiative, is accused of driving countries into debt traps, to act in a non-transparent, and only let Chinese companies come to the train.

Beijing has used the opportunity to draw Italy's new government on his side, and to weaken Europe's Unity in dealing with China. What is the actual impact of the China safeguards, depends a lot on whether China comes to large investments and how the political debate developed in Italy. In the coalition there are voices against the naive cozy with China Front.

there Are examples of Chinese investments have moved to a EU country to conduct to Beijing (may)? Is called the resistance of Greece against the condemnation of the Uighurs, the policy of Beijing, controlled by the EU...
China, with Piraeus the main port of Greece. The Greek government torpedoed in June 2017 a EU opinion on Chinese human rights violations. Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban hopes on Chinese investment. Hungary watered down an EU statement to the South China sea. In Portugal, China purchased the largest energy suppliers. And the Portuguese Prime power against stronger European investment controls mood.

All of this is no coincidence. In smaller countries, which have little leverage against Beijing, a large Chinese investment, the governments are committed to China at the EU-level. This is often done in a kind of anticipatory obedience, it often takes no direct pressure from Beijing.

Analyzed China's strategy in Europe: Thorsten Benner is Director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.Photo: Mathias Erfurt

bind the EU lever, such close cooperation of a member country with China?

The EU has little direct leverage to prevent such investments. An important lever to promote the EU and from foundations independent Expertise on China in the media, Think Tanks and universities in the States of southern and Eastern Europe, where it is yet.

as regards the political relations, the large member States like Germany must set a good example. Germany can't carry out with China's annual bilateral intergovernmental consultations with all the Federal Cabinet, and then complain that smaller countries are also looking for privileged access.

What influence do you expect from the development at the forthcoming summit of EU and China?

Europe has become the playing field of the increasing geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between China and the West. The question is whether the EU is also a competitive strong player. The EU Commission has presented the European external action service an excellent paper with ten points for a more realistic China policy.

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Economic co-operation, Italy wants to. silk road agreement with China

This is a good basis for the discussions with the Chinese side Because of the Brexit crisis, the head of the government had not cancelled their first debate on China policy since 2016, but in the short term, on the Friday moved. The EU heads of government need to urgently intensify the exchange to challenge China.
Thorsten Benner is co-founder of the think tank Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and its Director.

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