The European Commission has unveiled a plan to invest 300 billion euros globally by 2027 in infrastructure, digital, and climate projects as a better alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Reuters reported.
The scheme, dubbed the Global Gateway, aims to strengthen European supply chains, stimulate trade in the EU and help fight climate change, with a focus on digitalization, health, climate, and energy, as well as transport, education, and research sectors.
China launched its Belt and Road Initiative to develop trade links with the rest of the world in 2013 and has invested heavily in infrastructure development in dozens of countries around the world.
But EU officials argue that the financing terms offered by Beijing are often disadvantageous, opaque and make some poorer countries, especially in Africa, dependent on China for debt.
EU money in the form of grants, loans, and guarantees will come from EU institutions, governments, as well as EU financial institutions, and national development banks. The EU will offer its funding on fair and favorable terms to limit the risk of a debt crisis, the Commission said in a statement.
Without proper transparency, projects of good governance and high standards can be mis-selected or designed, left unfinished, or used to incite corruption. This not only stalls growth and deprives local communities, but ultimately creates dependencies that can limit the ability of countries to make decisions, the commission said in a statement.
The EC said the Global Gateway plan will aim to build connections with others without creating dependency.
It will focus on physical infrastructures - such as fiber optic cables, clean transport corridors, clean power lines - to strengthen digital, transport and energy networks, the Commission said.
The EC said that while helping other countries, the EU will also advance its own interests and strengthen its supply chains, whose vulnerabilities have become apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.