China Expert Geraci Thinks the New Italian Government Might Spoil Italy’s China Policy
Oct. 1, 2019 (EIRNS)—In an interview with Class-CNBC pay cable TV on Sept. 28, former Italian China policy architect Michele Geraci warns that the new Italian government might dissipate the political capital built with the MOU on the Belt and Road Initiative. “The risk is there and it’s very serious,” Geraci said.
“We noticed it just yesterday, at the People’s Republic Anniversary party at the Chinese Embassy. Speaking with Chinese colleagues, there was some surprise and nervousness because what our partners want is a continuityof trade policies. I always stress that the MOU was an act of promoting our exports. Clearly, China has appreciated it and thus we acquired some goodwill, some capital towards China. We now are in danger of dissipating that capital.”
The Chinese won’t forget what Italy’s Democratic Party (PD), now in the government, said against the MOU—which was signed in March with the M5S-Lega government during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy—Geraci says.
“From the opposition, the Democratic Party had strongly criticized our agreement with China, including in language that goes beyond political rhetoric. Now, we can change ideas, we can change government, and even change ourselves [an ironic reference to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte—ed.], but this game does not work abroad. Abroad, our trading partners know very well who said what, who thinks what. I don’t say this because I am no longer in the government, but surely, a group of persons created this opening to China in order to boost our firms, and now they find themselves in the hands of a political party which, instead, has a strong resentment against China.”
The MOU “was one of the most important things Italy has done in recent years” and now “they change everything, in both politics and also with respect to persons, and this can cause damage, a discontinuity that is no good for our enterprises.”