Beyond Rhetoric: Fostering Positive EU-China Partnerships for Growth

Beyond Rhetoric: Fostering Positive EU-China Partnerships for Growth

The member states of the European Union have structural, political and economic problems that have not been solved for a long time, they are: Non-EU migrants, high cost and productive capacity, full independence as a third political and economic bloc.

The EU Gateway project is still far from addressing these 3 issues, but it poses significant challenges and does not live up to its potential effectiveness. One of the main problems is the anticipation of all possible delays in implementation, which hinders progress and undermines confidence in the project. In addition, the current fragility of the EU Gateway project raises concerns about its long-term sustainability in terms of funding and sustainability.


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, is a global infrastructure project with an original sin, it was proposed and implemented by the Chinese government. While European countries have not fully explored the reversal opportunities provided by the BRI infrastructure, they often find themselves immobilized by persistent anti-China rhetoric. By reversal we mean that the initiative created to facilitate traffic from east to west and on the same routes can move traffic from West to East, and this does not seem to be happening to its full potential.


On the other hand, the European Union has launched the Global Gateway initiative, which aims to create “links, not dependencies” by investing in smart, green and secure connections in the digital, energy and transport sectors and strengthening health, education and research systems globally. I can’t figure out how, without a proprietary or controllable infrastructure.

However, too soon or not, it seems that at this stage the Global Gateway initiative lacks direction, with a fragile financial framework and minimal emphasis on mitigating migration, closing the production gap, and improving market penetration.

A possible solution to improve the effectiveness of the EU Gateway project could be to establish a link with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is now 10 years ahead. The BRI has already created vast infrastructure networks in Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond. By taking advantage of this existing framework, the EU Gateway project could tap into an established network and benefit from economies of scale.

However, it is crucial to critically evaluate how such a link would work in practice. The BIS has faced criticism for its lack of transparency, environmental impact, and debt burdens on participating countries. Therefore, any collaboration between the EU Gateway project and the BIS must carefully address these concerns to ensure that it does not undermine European values or undermine the Sustainable Development Goals.

The not-insignificant negative impact of anti-Chinese rhetoric has its faults.

The persistent anti-China rhetoric prevalent in some European countries creates a hostile environment for potential economic and structural collaborations with China. By focusing on negative views rather than exploring mutually beneficial partnerships, European countries miss out on business opportunities that could contribute to their economic growth.

Immobilized by anti-China sentiments, European countries hinder their ability to leverage the BRI infrastructure to their advantage. Attention to negative views limits their ability to engage in infrastructure projects and benefit from the development opportunities offered by the initiative.

The same anti-Chinese rhetoric also leads to delays in infrastructure development within European countries. By ignoring potential partnerships with China’s economic structures, European countries may find it difficult to develop their transportation, energy, and infrastructure systems, hampering their long-term economic growth.

The persistent negative discourse towards China can put a strain on geopolitical relations between European countries and China, and in some respects the consequences are already being noticed. This can create a hostile environment for cooperation in other areas, hampering the potential for collaboration and preventing progress that could benefit both sides.

Anti-Chinese rhetoric can negatively affect the tourism industry in European countries as well. By neglecting the potential influx of tourists from Chinese travellers connected through the BRI, European countries miss out on the economic benefits of tourism, including increased business for transport, hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Why not reframe the speech for mutual benefit?:

European countries can shift their focus away from negative rhetoric towards a more cooperative approach, recognising the potential benefits of working with China and leveraging the BRI infrastructure for their own development.

An open and constructive dialogue between European countries and China can help bridge gaps in understanding and address concerns. This approach can lead to mutually beneficial agreements and partnerships, allowing European countries to take advantage of the vast opportunities offered by the BRI.

European countries can actively explore the potential of BRI infrastructure for trade, infrastructure development, job creation, geopolitical influence, and tourism. By maximizing their benefits within the project, European countries can position themselves favorably in the global economic and political landscape.

European countries may also consider improving and further developing the links between the BRI, with a consolidated experience of 10 years ago, and the new Global Gateway initiative. The Global Gateway initiative focuses on sustainable development and European values such as good governance, transparency and equal partnership. By exploring synergies between the BRI and the Global Gateway initiative, European countries can create mutually beneficial partnerships and unlock significant development opportunities.

It is essential that European countries overcome the immobilizing effects of persistent anti-China rhetoric and embrace the potential of the BRI. Looking to the West, although the U.S. market remains robust, it does not offer many opportunities for further development. Looking north, with Russia in its current condition, a re-establishment of relations is unimaginable, except in the medium to long term.


By reframing the discourse and focusing on cooperation, European countries can unlock the opportunities offered by the BRI infrastructure, going east, southeast and south, leading to greater economic growth, infrastructure development, job creation, geopolitical influence and tourism. In addition, exploring synergies between the BIS and the Global Gateway initiative can create mutually beneficial partnerships and unlock further significant opportunities for development as well as consolidation of those economies that today, and for years now, are fueling migration flows to Europe.

It is crucial to recognize that the negativity surrounding the BRI ultimately hampers not only the potential of European countries, but also the opportunity for fruitful collaborations with countries that are already seeing the first positive results of an initiative that, according to new Chinese plans, provides for new allocations for investments worth $100 billion.

Dialogue and unity have always been strength, divisions only create new tensions

Daniele Prandelli 05/11/2023

Beyond Rhetoric: Fostering Positive EU-China Partnerships for Growth

LINK AL POST IN ITALIANO: https://www.prandelliweb.com/2023/11/05/china/

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