After days of rumors, the official announcement has arrived. Italy withdrew from the Chinese New Silk Road project (Belt and Road Initiative), which was supposed to promote trade between East and West. Through a note, the government communicated to China its intention not to proceed with the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in 2019. The note reaffirms the strategic friendship between Italy and China and the desire to relaunch the partnership between the two countries. According to what we learned from authoritative sources, in recent days Farnesina sent a letter to the Chinese embassy in which it is announced that the Memorandum – four years after the signing of the Belt and Road Initiative – will not be renewed after expiry. The deadline for the agreement is March 22, 2024, the Italian government’s desire to “develop and strengthen bilateral collaboration remains firm”, as clarified in the letter.
The Memorandum was signed at Villa Madama in March 2019 by then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, head of the yellow-green government, and President of the Chinese Republic Xi Jinping, making Italy the only G7 state to have joined the so-called BRI. One entry, that of Rome, on the Silk Road, which at the time caused an earthquake in the government, with the League against it and the M5S, then led by Luigi Di Maio, strongly in favor. The agreement extended collaboration between Italy and China to the entire industrial system of both countries – from transport to energy, from steel mills to shipyards, just to name some of the pieces on the agreement’s chessboard – and aimed to unite agreements worth 20 billion euros, both direct and induced. “We have already convened the Italy-China intergovernmental meeting for next year in Verona to address all international trade issues. There continue to be excellent relations and relationships, despite being a country that is also our competitor on a global level.” The statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, a guest at the Adnkronos forum, responding to a question about Italy’s withdrawal from the Silk Road Memorandum.
Source: IL Tempo
Emma Fitzgerald is an accomplished political journalist and author at The Nation View. With a background in political science and international relations, she has a deep understanding of the political landscape and the forces that shape it.