Global battle of offers – from the Chinese Road and Belt initiative to the EU Global Gateway: the vision of European organised civil society
The main objective of this opinion is to deliver, eight years after its official launch, an EESC assessment of the state of play of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a soft-power tool through which China has assumed a new strategic geopolitical position on the world chessboard. In this context, the EESC needs to investigate what impact the BRI can have on the EU's policies such as twin transition, open strategic autonomy, access to critical technologies and critical raw materials, security and defence, TEN-T network, foreign direct investments, EU screening, etc.
Geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe with the unprovoked war in Ukraine, and various conflict cases that poses severe risks to peace and derails European direction towards economic and political integration, are calling for more efficient coordination and common long-term action in European Union in the field of defence cooperation.
Climate diplomacy frames climate change as an external action policy topic and highlights the need to integrate climate objectives and address climate related risks at the highest diplomatic level and across all policy areas. Through this opinion we build on our previous work in this area and also explore practical aspects of the EU climate diplomacy.
The Mediterranean region is strongly exposed to climate change and faces fast-rising temperatures, water scarcity and coastal erosion. Energy transition plays an important role in climate change mitigation on both shores of the Mediterranean.
The movement of skilled workers out of regions already suffering from lower economic development may further undermine the growth and development potential of these regions. Such a "brain drain" from vulnerable EU regions therefore may contribute to widening territorial disparities, going against the objective of territorial cohesion set out in Article 174 TFEU. Given the cross-border impact of such developments the Commission considers that action at EU level is necessary.