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The Belt and Road Initiative Offers Opportunities for Europe

China's Belt and Road Initiative would in particular offer great opportunities for Europe, said Michael Schaefer, former German ambassador to China, in a recent interview with German media Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten.


The Belt and Road Initiative launched by China is a good example of the strategic thinking and action of the Chinese people, said Schaefer, adding it is linked to the old trade routes between China and Europe, and is an inclusive project.


"That means, any state, if it wishes to, can actively participate in the development of the initiative and its implementation," he said.


Europe should not obstruct this initiative by implying it has a hegemonic purpose, but should take the offer of China seriously and test it through concrete cooperation, he said.


In view of the European Union's current negotiations on free trade agreements with Canada (CETA) and the United States (TTIP), he warned against taking free trade agreements as geostrategic instruments against China and the other BRICS states.


Europe does not need isolation but integration into the global markets, he added.


Schaefer said the international community in the 21st century would become a multipolar one. A trade policy against the BRICS states, apart from China, which also include Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa, will not benefit anyone.


"We must try to build new structures of global governance on the foundations of the existing international legal system, not against but with the new creative powers," he said.


"I am deeply convinced that the chances of a peaceful coexistence with China and other new global actors are far greater than the danger of being ousted by these new powers," Schaefer noted.


In an innovative form of transregional cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative could be seen as an offer to create the basis for cooperation among equals which may lead to a real balance of interests, he said.


(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2016)

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