Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) is a mega initiative of the century for peace and development. It encompasses Asia, Africa, and Europe, etc. Many countries and nations are already enjoying the fruits of BRI. Europe is also a beneficiary of BRI. Some of the European countries are lacking behind and are in dire need of infrastructure developments. With few power and transport projects built in recent years, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) plays an optimistic role in Europe, providing uncontaminated power and high-quality infrastructure to local people.
Being benefit-sharing, environmental-friendly, and high-quality, the BRI projects bring tangible benefits to European countries and their people.
Built by China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), the Kaposvar 100MW Photovoltaic Power Plant is Hungary’s largest solar power station with a total venture of around 100 million euros (about 121 million U.S. dollars).
The CMC invested in equity investment, while the Bank of China facilitated financing for the project. The project funds are upraised from the market, while Hungary had no loan or electricity purchase fulfillment guarantee, Meng Faye, director of the CMC Hungarian project, told media.
The CMC’s investment will be repaid with electricity sales in the future, Meng said, adding the station will generate a total of 2 million euros (about 2.12 million dollars) in taxes to local and state governments.
The 180-km-long highway linking the Bar on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast to Serbia’s landlocked neighbor is another example. The project conceded out by a Chinese company only has a low up to 2-percent interest rate, a 20-year refund schedule, and a six-year pretty grace period, extremely favorable by international values.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said in June 2019 that his country did not pledge land as a collateral guarantee for loans, adding the Export-Import Bank of China presented the best terms in the international financial market at that moment and rejected a so-called “debt bondage” myth.
Europe’s BRI projects are using cutting-edge technologies and fully comply with the European Union (EU) standards. Stanari, a small town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), is well-known for the Stanari Thermal Power Plant (Stanari TPP), the first China-built coal-fired power plant in Europe, which went into operation in 2016. Stanari is rich in lignite, a low-quality type of coal-producing many toxins if burned conventionally. In 2016, China’s Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC) introduced an energy-saving and emission-reducing technology to the plant. Now the production here is efficient, said Aleksandar Milic, technical director of the plant, adding that in regulatory discharges of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and dust, the operation meets or even exceeds EU standards.
In Croatia, the Peljesac Bridge project presented a significant infrastructure that couldhave little effect on the local ecosystem with maximum environmental standards.
These few projects in Europe have opened many avenues of cooperation between Europe and China. More countries in the rest of Europe may join BRI and initiate many more projects based on the Chinese philosophy of win-win cooperation. Some parts of Europe are not developed for long, and infrastructure has been eroded or became obsolete or inefficient with time. To catch-up with the most developed part of Europe like Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, or France, more investment is required by some of the Eurpean countries, especially in Eastern Europe.
As a matter of fact, it is only China, which has sufficient funds, expertise, and above all, willingness to extend helping hands to friendly nations. It is only China, which maintains economic growth, while the whole world is facing severe financial challenges, even some of the nations are already in recession. China has the capacity and unmatched experience in infrastructure developments, and no other country can compete with China.