BRI can drive development for both China & European Union

By Jasna Plevnik

The Communist Party of China has to shoulder the sweet burden of praise for its governance and leadership, which have made China the second-largest economy in the world and one of the leading powers in high-tech including artificial intelligence.
The CPC has come a long way, 100 years to be precise, and can now enjoy the success of its vision that it is possible to build a prosperous society by following socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC has solved many fundamental issues of socialism by developing productive forces, eliminating absolute poverty, safeguarding the interests of peoples, and leading China toward prosperity and security.
The CPC has worked out a strong and effective foreign policy aimed at boosting China’s development and promoting win-win cooperation, and helping build a community with a shared future for mankind, a vision that has the potential to change international relations from the archaic pattern of power politics to a fair and effective global governance system.
In international relations, China has led the global development initiatives related to, among other things, the economy, environmental protection and public health. It is not easy to solve all the problems facing the world, but China has been trying to address them through various forms of diplomatic action such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the”16+1” (16 Central and Eastern European countries plus China) mechanism, despite the rising political pressure and anti-China propaganda of the Western powers.
The CPC has been praised for its work at home and abroad by economies across the world on the 100th anniversary of its founding, except the United States and the European Union.
President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, but the US and the EU say it is a “threat” to the West. However, the G7’s recent announcement suggests the group intends to follow China’s model of global cooperation, exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative. The EU has also said it plans to launch a global infrastructure project to better connect Europe and the world.
This is an indirect acceptance of China’s vision and global diplomacy, and shows that China has inspired not only developing countries but also developed countries to follow its path of global diplomacy and cooperation, though the latter may not admit it.
Now that the Belt and Road Initiative has encouraged the US and the EU to focus on physical and digital infrastructure, after having neglected, for example, the Balkans for 30 years, we hope they do a better job of it instead of using it in the context of geopolitical and “systemic competition”.
Countries across the world still need new bridges and roads, and China has gained extensive experience with its Belt and Road projects in such fields. It also has enough funds to give shape to such projects. Perhaps it sounds paradoxical but it is only now, after 30 years of their leadership of economic globalization, that the US and the EU have started learning how to develop the global economy in a way that it improves the well-being of the people worldwide. China has already set a benchmark in this field with the Belt and Road Initiative.
Since 2012, many Southeast European countries have been partners in the”16+1” mechanism and thus participants in the Belt and Road Initiative. And over the years, China has been recognized as a country with high economic competence and a good friend, which has been proved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to China, Southeast Europe got the opportunity to move away from the economic periphery of Europe and connect economically and digitally with China and Eurasia. Cooperation between China and the Balkans has great potential in the “Digital Silk Road”.
This cooperation is now entering a “deep-water period” that includes, among other things, pressure from some EU institutions to destabilize the China-Central and Eastern European countries’ platform. The platform, therefore, should establish a center for public relations that can make important contributions, for example, to addressing Montenegro’s debt problems through the”16+1” cooperation mechanism.
Recently Matthew Palmer, deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for the Western Balkans, said at the Dubrovnik Forum that across the region, and also around the world, China conducts “debt diplomacy”, pointing at Montenegro in particular.
In 2014, Montenegro concluded a loan agreement of $944 million with China Exim Bank to build the first phase of the Bar-Boljari project, which Palmer claims is not leading anywhere. But the fact is, it will link the port of Bar with Serbia and other Balkan countries when it is completed.
To counter such baseless allegations and anti-China propaganda is not only enough to strengthen win-win cooperation and promote real development but also to strengthen the soft power of the Belt and Road Initiative and”16+1” mechanism.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily News Exchange Item