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.
This announcement was praised by Chinese authorities who notice that the whole world is willing to get involved in the new Silk Roads. The active participation of the European Union in the “Belt and Road” initiative may speed up the implementation of projects between the two regions.
It can also be assumed that the European strategy will be accompanied by the launch of financial and non-financial programs to help European small and medium-sized enterprises increase their trade with Asian countries. We can also expect more cooperation projects and partnerships between European countries and China.
The involvement of the European Union in the “Belt and Road” initiative will have many consequences.
At the European level, this program could partly revive the European ideal, creating more integration within the European Union and directing investments towards the Union’s infrastructure.
The European project may also have an impact on the Union’s neighbor countries such as Ukraine, Turkey or Russia. In order for the European projects to successfully integrate the Belt and Road initiative, Brussels will have to develop new partnerships with its immediate neighbors to facilitate exchanges and reinforce infrastructures (we can think of the development of new railways).
Finally, the participation of the European Union in the “Belt and Road” initiative will urge Brussels to develop its exchanges with other key states of the new Silk Roads such as Kazakhstan or Pakistan.
By joining the Belt and Road initiative, the European Union is strengthening its position as a world power and must develop a stronger policy in Asia, a region where its influence was previously relatively weaker.
This European strategy may be unveiled in the coming months.