“New Silk Road” must be on the agenda of the EU Presidency

ZV petition to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: “Austria and the EU must now seize the opportunity of the century”

“New Silk Road” must be on the agenda of the EU Presidency

“The EU urgently needs a strategy for the ‘New Silk Road’. This is the only way Europe can secure its position in relation to China in the world’s largest economic project, exploit its enormous opportunities and prevent substantial risks,” the Transport and Logistics Association (Zentralverband Spedition & Logistik, ZV) writes in a press release published on 27th August.

At the same time, Austria must promote concrete projects at national level. These included the extension of the broad gauge railway from Slovakia to Austria, the creation of a logistics center in the metropolitan area of ​​Vienna-Lower Austria-Burgenland, and better connections to important southern ports, the letter reads.

Wolfram Senger-Weiss, President of ZV: “It is gratifying that the Government has included important trade topics such as the ‘New Silk Road’ and the extension of the broad gauge railway to Austria in its program. But now it is important to use the Presidency of the European Union to promote the topic for Europe and Austria.”

This central trade issue for the entire European economy must be placed on the agenda of the Austrian Presidency. “Europe needs to analyse the opportunities and risks of this China initiative with impartiality and immediately develop a clear, joint strategy for the New Silk Road project,” announces the ZV.

Officially referred to as “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR), the initiative and related trade relations with China do not only affect Austria, but the entire EU.”Unfortunately, Europe still shows an unclear picture, weakening its position as an economic power,” Wolfram Senger-Weiss says regretfully. Europe should see the development of the new markets along the Silk Road as an opportunity and not as a threat to its businesses and economic power.

Contrary to popular belief, the Silk Road / OBOR initiative is not a complete master plan, but an initiative that emanates from China and whoever wants to get involved, can do so. To fear China and boycott this historically largest trade project in history would not protect Europe, it would damage it, says Wolfram Senger-Weiss. “At the moment the Chinese side plans investments in the amount of 1.3 USD, whereas the European side shows contradictory, particular interests. That needs to change.”

The aim of a joint strategy must be that both sides benefit from this project. A recently published, comprehensive study by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies has again shown the great potential for Austria. Wolfram Senger-Weis: “With the necessary foresight and the right decisions, Austria could create a gateway for Europe to Asia”.