Ursula von der Leyen to announce huge £255billion bid to derail China’s global plans

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EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to announce a whopping £255 billion plan to derail China’s global geopolitical and economic power. Mrs von der Leyen will announce the new strategy, dubbed “Global Gateway”, on Wednesday.

The plan will see the funds being invested in EU infrastructure projects abroad by 2027.

Though the Commission’s document preview does not mention China and Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road infrastructure project, it makes clear that Global Gateway will be the “democratic” alternative.

The document says the plan aims “to forge links and not create dependencies”, adding that democracies “must have the ambition needed to help improve people’s lives around the world”.

Michael Clauss, German Ambassador to the EU, said: “Global Gateway has the potential to turn the EU into a more effective geopolitical player. For many partner countries, the offer of a rules – and values-based cooperation at eye level will be an attractive alternative to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.”

Hailing the news, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt also said: “The EU will push back against China’s predatory loans.

“Good governance, the respect of human rights and the rule of law are worth defending.

“This is a good step to make the EU a stronger geopolitical player.”

The EU Commission has said it will “mobilise €2.4 billion grants for Sub-Saharan Africa and €1.08 billion for North Africa to support renewable energy”.

The plan also aims at helping the bloc meeting its projected demand for green fuel.

Speaking to Politico, an EU diplomat said: “If this succeeds, the initiative with its partnership approach can underpin the EU’s geopolitical claim and push back Chinese influence.”

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The plan will come after the head of MI6 warned about China’s use of financial and data power to wield influence as he set out the need for Britain’s spies to work with the global tech sector to maintain cutting-edge capabilities.

Richard Moore said Beijing used “debt traps and data traps” to get countries and individuals “on the hook”.

The increasing complexity of the technology being used around the world meant MI6’s “boffins” were unable to meet the challenges alone and outside help was needed, he added.

Mr Moore used rare public appearances on Tuesday to set out the need for a “sea change” in the culture of the Secret Intelligence Service.

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The changing nature of the work meant a James Bond-style Q figure is no longer able to provide all the technological capabilities required by MI6, he said.

He said: “Given the challenges to the way in which we go about recruiting and running secret agents, if you look at some of the technology that is available to authoritarian regimes around so-called smart cities, technologies, surveillance etc then clearly, in order to stay ahead of that, we can’t do all of this in-house.

“As you say, we can’t do it in our Q labs, the boffins behind the wire-type model doesn’t work for us any more.”

Mr Moore highlighted China as one of the countries which had been able to harness the power of technology, coupled with its economic might, to assert itself on the global stage.

Its artificial intelligence capabilities allow Beijing to “harvest data from around the world”, he said.

He added: “And it’s also trying to use influence through its economic policies to try and sometimes, I think, get people on the hook.”

China will use its ability to control data and its financial power as “leverage” against targets. He said the “debt trap” has allowed China to be given the use of ports – which could be used as naval bases – in countries which are unable to repay loans.

He added: “The data trap is this: that, if you allow another country to gain access to really critical data about your society, over time that will erode your sovereignty, you no longer have control over that data.

“That’s something which, I think, in the UK we are very alive to and we’ve taken measures to defend against.”

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