Global battle of offers – from the Chinese Belt and Road initiative to the EU Global Gateway: the vision of European organised civil society


Ten years after the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as soft-power tool through which China carved for itself a new strategic geopolitical position in the world, the EESC investigates what impact the BRI can have on EU's policies such as twin transition, open strategic autonomy, access to critical technologies, security and defence, and others.

The opinion aims to put forward a shared position of civil society organisations represented in the EESC on the effects of the BRI, as well as to promote a debate within the EESC and at interinstitutional level between the EESC, the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council. Such debate should shed more light on issues of key importance that can have geopolitical implications both on the EU as a whole and on individual Member States.

EESC member and opinion rapporteur Stefano Palmieri stressed the need for BRI and Global Gateway projects to respect a number of principles and objectives. Compliance with EU values and submission of detailed impact assessments are important to ensure the sustainability of these projects, said Mr. Palmieri.

Key points


  • welcomes the EU's decision to promote the principle of the EU's open strategic autonomy, and therefore the launch of the Global Gateway initiative at the end of 2021;
  • argues that the Global Gateway will strengthen economic and political ties with the EU's partner countries, enabling the EU to compete effectively on a global level in the provision of infrastructure;
  • regrets the lack of real involvement of local European stakeholders in the overall process of development. The EESC would like to play a more active role in the key stages of the decision-making process for development projects associated with the BRI and the Global Gateway.

The full text of the opinion can be found here.

Additional information

EESC section: External Relations Section (REX)

Opinion type: Own-initiative

Rapporteur: Stefano Palmieri (Workers' Group -Italy)

Reference: REX/572-EESC

Date of adoption by section: 16 November 2023

Date of adoption in plenary: 13-14 December 2023

Result of the vote:187 in favour/0 against/ 3 abstentions

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