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EU’s ‘Global Gateway’ Exposed

EU’s ‘Global Gateway’ exposed as a flop by friendly fire

As the Schiller Institute has been claiming from the beginning, the Global Gateway Initiative (GGI) of the European Union (EU), aimed at competing with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) policy, is an empty shell doomed to fail. Now, the GGI is exposed as a failure even from inside the European Commission (EC).

On November 30, 2022, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament (EP) held hearings on the Global Gateway and the Indo-Pacific Region, where lawmakers learned from EU officials that very little of the EUR 300 billion of the GGI was spent, and the amount 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, the acting Director in the EC’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,” stressed Barry Andrews, an Irish MEP with the centrist Renew Group. He added: “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 top EC 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 that 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, they 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,” South China Morning Post quoted her as saying on December 31, 2022.

Nobody knows how much of the promised EUR 300 billion was spent. EC spokesperson Anna Pisonera stressed that there was no list of projects available, adding: “We do not have a list of predefined Global Gateway projects and investments worth EUR 300 billion at this stage. We are taking forward projects and flagship programmes with our partner countries under Global Gateway agreed on a rolling basis.

Interviewed by Politico in the last week of December 2022, EC officials said that projects would come next year! Even China-haters have exposed the failure of the GGI. “I think it was a mistake to begin with, trying to compete with BRI, because BRI was launched under completely different circumstances, by a completely different country that, at the time sort of filled a vacuum, proposed a new model, and had capital,” insisted Francesca Ghiretti, an analyst at the Brussels-based Mercator Institute for China Studies.

At the European Parliament hearing, it came out that the few projects listed by the EC 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. For his part, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated: “If we want to build a better partnership, the partnership must be based on equality.” He further said: “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 Centre for Global Development, said: “It was never clear what was additional about Global Gateway. It draws heavily on existing programmes 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 people expect from the EU that wants to decouple from that part of the world that is growing? The GGI should be renamed as “Global Get-Away” Initiative.

This article appeared in the Executive Intelligence Review (Strategic Alert) of Schiller Institute on January 2, 2023. The Schiller Institute is a Germany-based political and economic think tank founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, with stated members in 50 countries.

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