THE European Union (EU) is already an enormous investor in Asia and the largest, in fact, in Asean.
What are its plans to respond to China’s Belt and Road Initiative?
In 2013, China showcased its ambitious objective to shape the international politico-economic architecture: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The biggest economic, connectivity, and strategic plan launched by an Asian power, BRI has drawn both curiosity and apprehension among some countries while others simply welcomed it.
To gain greater international attention, China had hosted two Belt and Road Forums.
The rise in the number of heads of government (from 29 in 2017 to 37 in 2019) at the summits indicates rising acceptability of BRI.
One of China’s major achievements in 2019 was Italy’s decision to join BRI.
Italy’s move provoked intense debate in the Eurozone — with some high-profile European leaders even accusing China of causing rifts among the European countries.
Italy was not the first country to embrace BRI — Greece and Hungary have also done so — and these developments have led to debate both within and outside the Eurozone about whether the EU is equipped to withstand China’s overtures to smaller members.
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