The opportunities and challenges of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could be more easily addressed if the European Union forged a common position on the development plan, experts highlighted at a seminar in Rome this week.
“It is an initiative nobody can ignore, and it is interesting for any single country beyond the possible historical and geographical links to the ancient Silk Road,” former Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni said.
He urged participants to “discuss the initiative’s opportunities, advantages and conditions, without any ideological hostility,” saying that the BRI represents “the largest investment plan and the largest investment opportunity now in the world. We need common investments and fair and free trade. This is our commitment, and I am convinced such commitment would be made easier by a common EU attitude to the BRI,” he added.
Gathering at the Rome-based Institute of International Affairs for the seminar “China’s Belt and Road Initiative, 500 Days after the 2017 Beijing Summit,” Chinese officials and analysts from Italy, France, Britain, Greece and Poland discussed the initiative’s current state and prospects. [Xinhua]