Brussels / Beijing : The ambitious ‘One belt One Road’ plan which the Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced four years ago, has started receiving jolts in Europe.
The European Union (EU) has asked to review the railway project which is a part of the ‘One belt One Road’ plan. There has been a possibility of violating rules put forth by EU for the said project and so the commencement of the project has been delayed.
Chinese President Jinping had proposed ‘Silk Route Economic Belt’ in 2013. Under this, an ambitious plan to revive Silk route which was known as the – trade route in ancient times between Asia and Europe was designed. It is said that China has taken this initiative to increase trade through road highways, train and water transportation and also to expand its bilateral ties. To achieve this, n the last few years along with Europe many projects have been signed with Russia, Central Asia South and South West Asia.
The project to connect the countries, Serbia and Hungary in Europe through the channel of ’Highspeed railway’ network is considered to be one of the significant milestone of the ‘One Belt One Road’ plan. At a program held in 2013, an agreement to this effect was also signed between China, Serbia and Hungary. According to this deal, a 350 kilometer long ‘Highspeed railway’ route costing to around 3 billion dollars will be developed. This project was applauded as one of the projects which would open a new doorway for the export of Chinese products in Europe.
There has been huge amount of investments from China in European infrastructure and a major portion from this has been utilized for buying European companies thus making China attracted target for criticism. But apart from buying companies China is trying to prove that it can also make concrete investments in Europe and the Serbia-Hungary ‘High Speed’ Railway is an important step towards it. It has been said that the procedure for project commencement which was initiated last year has been in last phase . However, now it has started encountering obstacles.
According to news from Financial Times, the EU is creating hurdles in this project. It has been alleged that EU rules have been breached in the award of the Hungary Serbia High speed Railway project contract. According to the rules, the contract should have been tendered publicly. But it seems that no such public tender process was followed for this project. Hungary has awarded the contract to the China Railway International Corporation and the Chinese ‘Export Import Bank’ will provide finance to this project.
Earlier China has successfully commissioned a network of about 19000 kilometers of high speed railway across the country. Thus it is considered to be one of the leading nations. Yet, the EU has started criticizing China by pointing the rules. It is considered strange that efforts to increase trade and commerce coexist with such opposition. Opposition to Chinese projects has been considered to be very astonishing whereas, on one side efforts are being made to increase trade with China
But addition to Europe, it has been reported that now the Singapore Kunming, Russia Kazan, Jakarta Bandung railway projects are also suffering setbacks. Port project in Sri Lanka which is a part of the One Belt One Road plan has also started facing opposition at local level. Therefore the ambitious One Belt, One Road plan which would have lead China towards becoming a Super Power seems to have run into difficulties.