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EU ‘Global Gateway’ Exposed as a Flop by Friendly Fire

Jan. 2, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The following article appears in the EIR Strategic Alert, No. 1, 2023:

As we said from the beginning, the EU “Global Gateway Initiative” aimed at competing with China’s Belt and Road policy, was an empty shell doomed to fail. Now, the GGI is exposed as a failure even from inside the European Commission.

On Nov. 30, 2022, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament held hearings on the Global Gateway and the Indo-Pacific Region, where lawmakers learned from EU officials that very little of the €300 billion of the GGI was spent, and what was spent was not “new” money.

“Global Gateway does not bring new financial means—there is no additional money when it comes to the EU level,” said Vincent Grimaud, an acting director in the commission’s Department for International Partnerships. “There’s no new money. And I’ve always held the view that if there’s no new money, there’s no new policy,” said Barry Andrews, an Irish MEP with the centrist Renew Group. ‘This is a communications exercise. It’s a strategy to put together what was already going to happen and present it as something new. And if our partners are tricked by this, then more fool them.”

Perhaps, behind the candid admission of the high Commission official, there is, as the German economic daily Handelsblatt reported, a disagreement on using the GGI as a strategic weapon against China.

“Hildegard Bentele, a German member from the European People’s Party, said she had been trying to find German companies who are ‘part of this adventure,’ ” but had failed to locate any. ‘If I talk to journalists, journalists are asking me what are these Global Gateway projects? If I go on the website of the European Commission, I do not find it—this is really difficult,’ ”

she is quoted saying in the Dec. 31 South China Morning Post.

Nobody knows how much of the promised €300 billion was spent. Commission spokesman Anna Pisonera said there is no list of projects available: “We do not have a list of predefined Global Gateway projects and investments worth €300 billion at this stage; we are taking forward projects and flagship programs with our partner countries under Global Gateway agreed on a rolling basis.”

Interviewed by Politico last week, Commission officials said projects will come next year!

Even China-haters expose the failure of the GGI. “I think it was a mistake to begin with, trying to compete with Belt and Road, because BRI was launched under completely different circumstances, by a completely different country who, at the time, sort of filled a vacuum, proposed a new model, and had capital,” said Francesca Ghiretti, a Brussels-based analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

At the Euro Parliament hearing, it came out that the few projects listed by the Commission officials pre-dated the launching of Global Gateway. “It is a rebadging exercise,” said MEP Barry Andrews.

Last but not least, potential customers do not want to be told what they should do with the money. “If we want to build a better partnership, the partnership must be based on equality,” remarked Indonesian President Joko Widodo. “There must not be one who dictates to the other, and says our standards are better than yours.”

Former Public Works Minister of Liberia W. Gyude Moore, now a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, said that “it was never clear what was additional about Global Gateway. It draws heavily on existing programs and initiatives that would have moved forward even if Global Gateway did not exist. It was sold as a viable alternative to China’s BRI—an alternative that was driven by values like transparency and sustainability. It has not gone beyond just words.”

What do you expect from an EU that wants to decouple from that part of the world which is growing? The Global Gateway Initiative should be renamed as “Global Get-Away” Initiative.

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