More strategic partnerships, more money, more visibility – on Monday, EU foreign ministers increased pressure on the EU Commission to establish a European alternative for the Belt and Road Initiative. China is not directly named in its outcome of proceedings. However, in the EU statement, titled ‘A Globally Connected Europe,’ ministers stressed that “other major economies have developed their own approaches and tools for connectivity.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was more outspoken on the matter prior to the meeting, stating China was using its economic and financial leverage around the world to increase its political influence. “It’s no use whining about it. We have to offer alternatives ourselves.” Maas said in Brussels. This would apply to Southeast Europe, Africa and Central Asia, among others.
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