Edition: International | Greek
MENU

Home » EU Actually

Is Italy playing on two sides? China and the EU?

‘An Italian poll sees China as the most friendly foreign country, followed by Russia. Germany is considered the least friendly foreign power, followed by France

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

«Europhiles hope that the fund will address Italy’s lurch into Euroscepticism. But will the impact be enough to persuade Italy to stop breaking EU ranks on China?»
«Europhiles hope that the fund will address Italy’s lurch into Euroscepticism. But will the impact be enough to persuade Italy to stop breaking EU ranks on China?»

by N. Peter Kramer

‘An Italian poll sees China as the most friendly foreign country, followed by Russia. Germany is considered the least friendly foreign power, followed by France. Another poll shows that 42 percent of the Italians want to leave the EU and 44 per cent favour staying. These are deeply alarming figures. Twenty years of eurozone membership have taken Italians to a point where they consider China as their most important strategic partner’. These are not my words but of Wolfgang Munchau, a senior commentator of the omni respected Financial Times. ‘Without fear and without favour’ reads the motto of the business daily traditionally printed on pink paper.

Do not be surprised by the Italian opinions. Their country became the only large EU member state to sign up officially to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a long-term infrastructure investment project spanning the Eurasian continent. It is at the heart of China’s global industrial strategy. Italy has already attracted the second largest share (after Germany) of Chinese investments among EU countries. Recently Beijing has promised investments in the port of Trieste on the Adriatic coast.

The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has celebrated the deal for the Covid-19 recovery fund agreed by German chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s president Emmanuel Macron. Europhiles hope that the fund will address Italy’s lurch into Euroscepticism. But will the impact be enough to persuade Italy to stop breaking EU ranks on China? We will have to wait for the final decision on the recovery fund at the European Council on 18 and 19 June. If indeed there is a clear decision taken then.

Interestingly Munchau also mentions in his article that a recent poll found that the number of Germans who seek closer relations with China is 36 percent versus 37 percent who favour the US. Among young Germans, China leads the US by a wide margin. China’s role in Hong Kong and suppressing the flow of information about Covid-19 seems to have had little effect on public opinion in the EU. ‘China is well on the way to emerge as the most influential external power for the EU’, the FT writer concludes.

READ ALSO

EU Actually

Greenpeace rings emergency bell for nature, climate and small farms

N. Peter KramerBy: N. Peter Kramer

While the Council of the EU heralds that its negotiating position on the post 2020 common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package puts forward strong commitments from member states for higher environmental ambition, Greenpeace let us know that the European Parliament has ‘signed a death sentence for nature, climate and small farms’

View 03/2020 2020 Digital edition

Magazine

Current Issue

03/2020 2020

View past issues
Subscribe
Advertise
Digital edition

Europe

Brexit and the Dismal Reality of “Take Back Control”

Brexit and the Dismal Reality of “Take Back Control”

The UK’s economic relationship with the EU will change profoundly. Instead of open trade, Britain is heading for a hard Brexit that will have dire consequences for its economy and role as a trading nation

Business

How AI can train workers for the jobs of the future

How AI can train workers for the jobs of the future

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the world of work at a rapid pace, and its impact is poised to accelerate even more in the decades ahead

MARKET INDICES

Powered by Investing.com
All contents © Copyright EMG Strategic Consulting Ltd. 1997-2020. All Rights Reserved   |   Home Page  |   Disclaimer  |   Website by Theratron