Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government in Rome has officially informed Beijing that Italy is withdrawing from the Communist Party government’s Belt and Road global domination scheme.
Following weeks of negotiations, Italy sent a letter to China stating its intentions to formally withdraw from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xi Jinping’s pet project to expand Chinese influence throughout the world. The letter was said to have been sent to Beijing several days ago but was not made public until a report on Wednesday from the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera.
While Rome had attempted to modify its agreement before the renewal deadline set for the end of the year, Meloni’s overtures were ultimately rejected by the communist government, precipitating the decision to leave the partnership with China.
The Belt and Road scheme has been labelled by international observers as a policy of “debt-trap diplomacy”, with the CCP using predatory loans for infrastructure projects in developing nations throughout Asia, Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe as a means of exerting political influence. The BRI also often sees China seize large swaths of territory or infrastructure projects if countries fail to repay their debts to Beijing — which is a feature rather than a fault of the programme — while the supposed economic benefits are mitigated by the fact that China often ships in Chinese workers and materials for BRI jobs.
In 2019, Italy, under the technocratic-globalist government of former PM Giuseppe Conte, became the first member of the G7 to join the Belt and Road project with promises of increased economic growth and investments into Italy from China. However, such promises were left largely unfulfilled, except for investments into Italian ports, which were utilised as a European springboard for China’s fleet of merchant ships.
Conversely, membership in the BRI came with major drawbacks for the European country, with communist apparatchiks using the partnership to exert pressure on Italian media to push forward pro-Beijing narratives.
Exposé: Communist China’s Propaganda Infiltration of Italian Media Revealed https://t.co/DhgpIt41UA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 7, 2021
In 2021, Breitbart News revealed the extent of the propaganda efforts of the CCP in the Italian press, including a newspaper owned by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi publishing materials produced by the Chinese government without informing their readers, and Italy’s state news agency Ansa uncritically publishing wires from Beijing’s Xinhua news service.
Although Italy did not see much benefit from entering the BRI, it may face consequences for leaving it, as the pugnacious regime in Beijing will likely seek to punish Rome, such as by limiting access to the Chinese market for Made in Italy products, so as to deter other nations from following their example in leaving the communist scheme.
In an apparent attempt to mitigate economic retaliation, Melnoi’s government has sought to ameliorate the CCP by reaffirming Italy and China’s ties, including potentially reviving attempts to forge a “strategic partnership” between the two countries.
There are also rekindled attempts in Brussels to increase economic ties with China, with the first EU-China summit since 2019 set to take place on Thursday in Beijing. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Council President Charles Michel, and top EU diplomat Josep Borrell will meet with Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in an attempt to “pursue constructive and stable EU-China relations.”
While Italy was the only G7 member to join the BRI, it was not the only member state of the European Union to do so, with Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia having also signed up to the scheme. The BRI members and other globalist figures within the EU, such as Michel, are likely to push for a revival of the previously abandoned trade deal with China.
Even without a comprehensive trade deal in place, Europe, like much of the West, has become deeply intertwined with the communist nation, with China overtaking the United States as the EU’s top trading partner in 2021.
EU Council President Charles Michel argued against offering an "olive branch" to Russia but declared that in order to accomplish the EU's green agenda goals it should seek deeper economic ties with Communist China — despite its long-list of atrocities https://t.co/c2CYNXbjkU
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 21, 2022