The European Union, together with the United States and other partners, wants to create a huge railway and freight project. The mega project is also seen as a response to China’s “New Silk Road” initiative.
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- The European Union, the United States and other partners have launched a massive railway and freight project.
- “This is nothing but historic,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
The European Union, the United States and other partners have launched a massive railway and freight project. The project aims to better connect Europe, the Middle East and India, as announced by participants at the G20 summit in New Delhi on Saturday. “This is nothing but historic,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. She spoke of the most direct link yet between India, the Persian Gulf and Europe – through a railway that would speed up trade between India and Europe by 40 per cent. The project is also seen as a response to China’s “New Silk Road” initiative.
US President Joe Biden spoke of a “historic economic corridor”. The United States, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union therefore agreed to a similar declaration of intent. The Axios news portal previously reported that this is one of Washington’s “most important initiatives” aimed at curbing China’s influence in the Middle East.
The “New Silk Road” faces competition
Through the “New Silk Road”, China supports infrastructure projects around the world and wants to open up new trade routes to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. It has concluded many agreements with almost all Arab countries.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s advisor, said that the project aims to promote growth in many vital regions in the world. It will also improve integration across the Middle East – bringing in “some unexpected partners” in the region. India should also be connected to Europe in a way that not only enables “more efficient transportation of goods”, but also promotes cooperation in the areas of energy and digital technology. “We think the project is bold and transformative,” said Sullivan. Presumably, he will find imitators all over the world.
The project is to be funded, among others, by the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative. The plan envisages investing up to 300 billion euros (about 287 billion Swiss francs) in infrastructure for emerging and developing countries over the next few years. The project competes with the Chinese “New Silk Road”, which the People’s Republic has been working on in many countries for years. For example, projects to produce energy using climate-neutral hydrogen in Africa, and a new underwater cable to transmit data between the European Union and Latin America, have already been planned.
Other networks are also being expanded
Part of the now announced project also includes the expansion of electricity networks and energy projects. High speed data cables are also part of the plan. According to the information, clean energy trade between Asia, the Middle East and Europe will also be promoted through power cables and a clean hydrogen pipeline. According to the White House, the pipelines to be laid from Israel to Europe will provide clean hydrogen to Europe.
The fact that Israel is part of the initiative is interesting. Recently, there have been reports of a move in a possible rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. However, Biden’s advisor, Jake Sullivan, confirmed that this is not a prelude to normalizing the relationship between the two countries. But “it is important for Israel to be part of this vision.”
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