Topic Of The Day:-“Road Through Rome?”
Italy’s proposed endorsement of the BRI highlights the dilemmas within the EU
Italy’s plan to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative, the first such move by a G7 member, will boost China’s global ambitions. In turn, this highlights the difficulties facing the EU and the U.S. in formulating a concerted response to counter China’s growing might. On its inception in 2013, the BRI envisaged linking about 65 countries along a modern Silk Road, the transformation of China into a high-income economy and the renminbi’s elevation into a global currency. Today, it has expanded to over 80 countries, mostly least developed and developing economies, as Beijing seeks to bolster its Made in China 2025 industrial policy. The lure of the BRI is attributed largely to the informal nature of the deals Beijing negotiates with partner-states, with attractive loan terms and sans political strings. Their opaque nature has spurred criticism that recipients risk being pushed into a debt trap. But the glitches facing some of the BRI infrastructure projects have merely led to calls for renegotiation rather than their roll-back. The BRI has moved forward, along with Beijing’s other venture, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Many Central and Eastern European countries, EU members and aspirants alike, are part of the “16+1” group, which includes China, collaborating in infrastructure ventures.
However, Italy, an EU founder-member, will be the first major developed economy to participate in the BRI. Rome’s ruling eurosceptic and anti-establishment coalition has been enthusiastic in signing on. Its timing is seen to have something to do with the difficulties the government has faced in balancing its growth targets with the EU’s stringent fiscal norms. These tensions surfaced in recent negotiations with Brussels that led to a revised Italian budget. Italy is counting on its BRI endorsement to boost investment in it, given recent reductions in Chinese outflows into the EU. Rome is expected to sign an MoU to participate in the mammoth endeavour during a visit this month of President Xi Jinping. Italy’s move comes at a moment of increasing concern in European capitals, especially Paris and Berlin, to counter Chinese mergers and acquisitions of European firms to protect the bloc’s strategic economic sectors. The Trump administration has, in keeping with its America First policy, invoked national security provisions rarely deployed in international trade and targeted Beijing with punitive import tariffs, ostensibly to protect domestic industries. China’s phenomenal economic expansion since joining the WTO in 2001 has almost altered the global landscape. But attempts to block Chinese businesses may prove short-sighted. Instead, Western democracies should strive to live up to their repeated pledges, since the 2007-08 global financial crisis, to eschew protectionism and promote rules-based open and free global competition.
MEANINGS AND WORDS
Meaning : declare one’s public approval or support of(v).
Synonyms : approve
Antonyms : attack
Example : “the report was endorsed by the college”
Meaning : jointly arranged or carried out; coordinated(adj).
Synonyms : combined
Antonyms : disorganized
Example : “a concerted attempt to preserve religious unity”
Meaning : contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event.
Synonyms : anticipate
Example : “the Rome Treaty envisaged free movement across frontiers”
Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion(v).
Synonyms : confer
Antonyms : confuse
Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”
Meaning : (of a rider or their boots) having a spiked device on the heels for urging a horse forward.
Synonyms : propel
Antonyms : calm
Example : “two young men appeared booted and spurred“
Meaning : a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or fault of equipment.
Synonyms : defect
Antonyms : advantage
Example : “a draft version was lost in a computer glitch”
Meaning : just; only(adv).
Synonyms : purely
Antonyms : indefinitely
Example : “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”
Meaning : inflicting or intended as punishment.
Synonyms : punishing
Antonyms : beneficial
Example : “he called for punitive measures against the Eastern bloc”
Meaning : (of regulations, requirements, or conditions) strict, precise, and exacting(adj).
Synonyms : exacting
Antonyms : flexible
Example : “stringent guidelines on air pollution”
Meaning : try hard to do or achieve something(v).
Synonyms : attempt
Antonyms : surrender
Example : “he is endeavouring to help the Third World”
Meaning : make (someone) anxious or worried.
Synonyms : interest
Antonyms : pastime
Example : “the roof of the barn concerns me because eventually it will fall in”
Meaning : cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument(v).
Synonyms : adjure
Antonyms : give
Example : “the antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”
Meaning : move (troops or equipment) into position for military action(v).
Synonyms : expand
Antonyms : conclude
Example : “forces were deployed at strategic locations”