mandag 6. september 2021

West lacks clear plan to rival China’s ‘Belt and Road,’ Estonia says

Europe, the U.S. and their allies need a better, single infrastructure investment project to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative, according to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

"We have many initiatives that actually tackle the same issue," Kallas told POLITICO in an interview, singling out the Blue Dot Network initiative by the U.S., Australia and Japan, and the Three Seas Initiative that covers Eastern Europe and has the support of the EU and U.S.

"We need to connect them all ... This is what I feel is lacking," Kallas said.The Estonian government is hosting the Tallinn Digital Summit next week, gathering officials from Europe, the U.S. and other countries to discuss how to align foreign investment programs to promote "trusted connectivity" and secure networks.

The Chinese government has spent years promoting the BRI to increase trade and strengthen political ties with countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. Beijing's global campaign has often alarmed European leaders who fear the investments come with security, cybersecurity and trade costs. China has "a very clear idea" on how to promote the projecy, Kallas said — something she said Western allies still lack.