Italy has joined Chinese “New Silk Road” mega project despite concerns from other EU countries. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and China’s President Xi Jinping signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday in Rome.
China’s leadership plans to use the infrastructure project to invest billions in ports, roads, railways, telecommunications networks and airports in many countries. New economic and trade corridors are to be created in Europe, Africa and Latin America, including Asia.
Other EU countries and the United States had previously held back on the government’s decision in Rome. They criticized, lack of transparency and unfair competitive conditions.
Security experts in Washington have been concerned for some time about how China is expanding its power beyond its own borders.
Several agreements with companies and ministries have now been signed in Rome. This includes investment in the ports of Trieste and Genoa as well as an agreement to export Italian oranges.
Xi travels after his visit to Italy on Sunday via Monaco to France. On Tuesday, in Paris, he will meet French President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
EU countries such as Greece, Poland and Hungary has already joined Silk Road. Italy’s historic partners like Germany and France are not there.
Merkel had not explicitly criticized Italy’s commitment at the EU summit in Brussels. However, she said, “that it is even better if you act consistently”.