• Columnists
    The EU and China as Co-architects of a "Smart BRI"
    By David Gosset | chinawatch.cn | Updated: 2019-04-10 10:04
    David Gosset

    The 21st European Union-China summit takes place while an unprecedented level of mistrust dangerously threatens Sino-Western relations.

    In this context, the European Union and China have to show the world -- and the United States of America under the leadership of Donald Trump -- that the synergies between China and the West are not only a reality but also indispensable to world peace and prosperity.

    So,as they seek to strengthen bilateral cooperation; discuss trade and investment and also global governance; exchange views on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Russia and Ukraine, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Myanmar, both sides will demonstrate their commitment to multilateralism structured around the United Nations.

    Following the success of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy, Monaco and France, 2019 could be the year to initiate a strategic consensus among European and Chinese leaders around the notion of a “Smart Belt and Road” or the vision of new Silk Roads animated by the ideals of collaboration, inclusiveness, sustainability and innovation.

    In a world of interdependence, the actors of the Eurasian continent have to co-create value through collaboration. By doing so, they would stop the trends whose result would be the decoupling between the West and China or the tragedy of a divided mankind.

    A smart Belt and Road is not only collaborative but also inclusive. So the time has come to set up an official mechanism in which China, the European Union and also the African Union would discuss and structure their interactions -- the Belt and Road can’t pretend to be smart if it does not include the continent, Africa, which will largely determine the future of the world.

    Aiming at a smart Belt and Road means also that the protection of the environment becomes a strategic objective. So, if the new Silk Roads which are being built are not green, if they are not taking into account the imperative of fighting climate change, they are simply roads to nowhere.

    This leads the reflection to the fourth pillar of the vision of a smart Belt and Road -- innovation. So 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, new energy solutions and other already available technologies have to serve smarter rural development, smarter national and international connectivity and the construction of smart cities.

    At the intersection of urbanization, business dynamics, technological advancement but also geopolitics the notion of smart city has to be one of the major themes of the vision of a smart Belt and Road.

    A really smart Belt and Road would connect smart cities from Asia to Africa and will be a powerful vector of progress.

    While the necessity of reinventing multilateralism has become an imperative, one would hope to see the vision of a smart Belt and Road increasingly discussed and becoming an axis of international coordinated action.

    In his concise masterpiece The Basic Laws of Stupidity, the wise and erudite Italian economic historian Carlo M. Cipolla (1922-2000) defined stupidity as a behavior causing a double loss. At the opposite, it is the win-win which characterizes intelligent action.

    While being aware of the traps of stupidity, a smart Belt and Road is the extension to international politics of Cipolla’s insight: intelligence knows how to compromise, it is about the co-creation of solutions and value, the sharing of benefits.

    David Gosset is the founder of the Europe-China Forum (2002) and of the New Silk Road Initiative (2015). He is the author of Limited Views On The Chinese Renaissance (2018).

    The author contributed this article to China Watch exclusively. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of China Watch.

    All rights reserved. Copying or sharing of any content for other than personal use is prohibited without prior written permission.

    David Gosset

    The 21st European Union-China summit takes place while an unprecedented level of mistrust dangerously threatens Sino-Western relations.

    In this context, the European Union and China have to show the world -- and the United States of America under the leadership of Donald Trump -- that the synergies between China and the West are not only a reality but also indispensable to world peace and prosperity.

    So,as they seek to strengthen bilateral cooperation; discuss trade and investment and also global governance; exchange views on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Russia and Ukraine, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Myanmar, both sides will demonstrate their commitment to multilateralism structured around the United Nations.

    Following the success of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy, Monaco and France, 2019 could be the year to initiate a strategic consensus among European and Chinese leaders around the notion of a “Smart Belt and Road” or the vision of new Silk Roads animated by the ideals of collaboration, inclusiveness, sustainability and innovation.

    In a world of interdependence, the actors of the Eurasian continent have to co-create value through collaboration. By doing so, they would stop the trends whose result would be the decoupling between the West and China or the tragedy of a divided mankind.

    A smart Belt and Road is not only collaborative but also inclusive. So the time has come to set up an official mechanism in which China, the European Union and also the African Union would discuss and structure their interactions -- the Belt and Road can’t pretend to be smart if it does not include the continent, Africa, which will largely determine the future of the world.

    Aiming at a smart Belt and Road means also that the protection of the environment becomes a strategic objective. So, if the new Silk Roads which are being built are not green, if they are not taking into account the imperative of fighting climate change, they are simply roads to nowhere.

    This leads the reflection to the fourth pillar of the vision of a smart Belt and Road -- innovation. So 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, new energy solutions and other already available technologies have to serve smarter rural development, smarter national and international connectivity and the construction of smart cities.

    At the intersection of urbanization, business dynamics, technological advancement but also geopolitics the notion of smart city has to be one of the major themes of the vision of a smart Belt and Road.

    A really smart Belt and Road would connect smart cities from Asia to Africa and will be a powerful vector of progress.

    While the necessity of reinventing multilateralism has become an imperative, one would hope to see the vision of a smart Belt and Road increasingly discussed and becoming an axis of international coordinated action.

    In his concise masterpiece The Basic Laws of Stupidity, the wise and erudite Italian economic historian Carlo M. Cipolla (1922-2000) defined stupidity as a behavior causing a double loss. At the opposite, it is the win-win which characterizes intelligent action.

    While being aware of the traps of stupidity, a smart Belt and Road is the extension to international politics of Cipolla’s insight: intelligence knows how to compromise, it is about the co-creation of solutions and value, the sharing of benefits.

    David Gosset is the founder of the Europe-China Forum (2002) and of the New Silk Road Initiative (2015). He is the author of Limited Views On The Chinese Renaissance (2018).

    The author contributed this article to China Watch exclusively. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of China Watch.

    All rights reserved. Copying or sharing of any content for other than personal use is prohibited without prior written permission.

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