While the European Union may not openly admit it, the Global Gateway strategy that it launched in December 2021, and which it has accelerated this year, is a move to "counterbalance" China's global influence, at the behest of the United States.
Or more exactly, to "counterbalance" China's Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013 to boost connectivity, and Chinese enterprises are working around the world to help developing countries do that.
With the achievements of the Belt and Road cooperation readily apparent, the EU has also set out to "boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors".
The EU's purpose of trying to limit China's influence and take a share out of its cake could not be clearer. Yet the freshly announced list of a Business Advisory Committee for the Global Gateway in September might serve to embarrass it, because on the list there is the Energias de Portugal, whose largest shareholder, according to its official website, is China's Three Gorges Group. France-based Eutelsat also has a Chinese company, China Investment Corporation, as one of its shareholders.
It's increasingly clear that while it may strengthen global infrastructure, the Global Gateway's purpose is not that, but rather to "contain" China.
Which is why some European Parliament members have been voicing concerns about China's presence in the advisory committee. Center-right lawmaker Miriam Lexmann tweeted: "The Global Gateway was established to address Chinese influence, not further it." President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyden made this clear as well when she said that the EU "will support smart investments in quality infrastructure, respecting the highest social and environmental standards, in line with the EU's values and standards."
Talk of values and standards always accompanies such efforts by the US and its allies, since they not only seek to present themselves in a favorable light — and China in a bad one — but also set themselves up as the countries best able to write the "rules". Rules with which they hope to curb China's development and influence, despite the claims they repeatedly make that they are trying to do no such thing.
Some politicians in the EU have been raising their voices clamoring for the bloc to "decouple" from China, or as they sugarcoat it now, pursue "de-risking". But the cooperation of Chinese and European companies for mutual benefit shows such political designs are built on sand.
The Belt and Road Initiative is an open platform that seeks to benefit all participants, including the EU and the US. Similar initiatives such as the Global Gateway should be intended for the same purpose, rather than being wolves in sheep's clothing.