In early April, two European heads of state spoke about the BRI. When visiting China, top leaders from Austria and the Netherlands expressed their willingness to develop relations with Beijing and showed interests in the BRI.
Siemens, the German high tech giant has decided to join the BRI. In late March 2018, Siemens opened a special office dedicated to the “Belt and Road initiative” in Beijing.
From this office will be organized all BRI projects in which Siemens participates, whether in China or in the other states along the new Silk Road.
The city of Trieste in Italy aims to become a major maritime hub in Europe. On March 26, 2018, an article in “La Repubblica” called Trieste a possible terminus of the new Silk Road.
This port in the north-east of Italy is undergoing a profound transformation.
The port of Trieste could become an alternative to the port of Venice and act as an exchange platform.
European companies show strong willingness to participate in the BRI; it is now up to European governments to support this trend and promote trade between Europe and Asia.
On March 2, 2018, China Mobile inaugurated its new offices near Paris. It is the third Chinese phone company to enter the French market after China Telecom and China Unicom.
The new Silk Roads are receiving more and more attention from European media. This project raises fears of Chinese hegemony, but everyone agrees that the BRI is also creating opportunities and development. Two British students have decided to make up their minds for themselves and take the road to explore this new line of communication between Europe and Asia.
Australia, the United States, India and Japan are reportedly discussing the formation of a competing project for China’s Belt and Road initiative. The best option for the EU is to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative to better protect its interests.
The 2nd MEDports forum was held in Marseille on February 7-8, 2017.
The MEDports forum aims at boosting cooperation among ports located on the North and Southern coasts of the Mediterranean sea. A MEDports association was inaugurated at the conclusion of the forum.
During this event a special session was dedicated to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belgian port of Zeebrugge is expected to become a new hub of the Belt and Road initiative. Zeebrugge, the port of Bruges, is the second largest container port in Belgium after Antwerp, and the sixth in the Channel-North Sea region (2016). It is also the leading European port for car transportation.
Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the European Union’s ambassador to China, announced on January 10 that the European Union was working on a connection project between Europe and Asia that could be linked to China’s Belt and Road initiative.