European Commission and China start cooperation on transport platforms and corridors

25 February 2019

The European Commission and China are cooperating in the creation of transport platforms and corridors, within the scope of the Belt and Road initiative, in which Portugal intends to participate, and of European relationship projects.


Maja Bakran Marcich, deputy director general of the European Commission for Mobility and Transport, said the European authorities would, “work with China to plan platforms and corridors” and added that an agreement had been reached to draft the terms of a study for that purpose.


Bakran Marcich’s statement is contained in the final report of the recent Europe-China Forum whose organisation involved China’s European Union mission and the China Institute for Reform and Development, which took place behind closed doors under the so-called “Chatham House rules.”


Bakran Marcich said during the conference that the European Commission’s focus on current transport projects is on “link quality” with the intention of “building strong partnerships,” taking advantage of the “significant financial framework” available.


“We already have a network that covers the Western Balkans and extends to Eastern partner countries. The cooperation must respect the sharing of principles of market rules and international standards and established standards,” said the European official.


China and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Relationship Platform in September 2015 with the aim of creating synergies between EU policies and projects and the Belt and Road initiative, particularly through cooperation in infrastructure, financing, interoperability, and logistics.


As a member of the European Union, Portugal has been showing great interest in joining the Belt and Road initiative, standing as a European pioneer by signing of a memorandum with China during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Lisbon at the end of 2018.


A particular focus of Portugal’s interest is the expansion project of the port of Sines, for which the country intends to attract Chinese investment, as well as other complementary infrastructure.


The final report said that, although the Belt and Road initiative includes all types of land and sea transport, a special impetus should be given to railways and rail operators.


Jiang Ruiping, vice president of the University of Foreign Affairs of China, argued at the same conference that China-EU cooperation “should focus on standardisation because the relationship concerns infrastructure and technical issues.” (macauhub)