Italy is planning to exit the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for a number of reasons.
Disappointment with the lack of economic benefits. When Italy joined the BRI in 2019, it was hoping to attract Chinese investment and boost its economy. However, so far, there has been little concrete economic benefit for Italy. In fact, some experts have argued that the BRI has actually harmed Italy’s economy by making it more reliant on China.
Concerns about China’s strategic ambitions. The BRI is seen by some as a way for China to extend its economic and political influence around the world. Italy is concerned that by participating in the BRI, it could be giving China too much control over its infrastructure and economy.
Pressure from the United States and the European Union. The United States and the European Union have been critical of the BRI, arguing that it is a way for China to build a new empire. Italy is under pressure from these countries to withdraw from the BRI.
The Italian government has not yet officially announced its decision to exit the BRI, but it is widely expected to do so. This would be a significant setback for the BRI, which is seen as a key part of China’s global strategy.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are also some other factors that may be contributing to Italy’s decision to exit the BRI. These include:
The war in Ukraine. The war has strained relations between China and the West, and Italy is likely concerned about being seen as too close to China.
The rising cost of living. The cost of living in Italy has been rising sharply, and the government is under pressure to take steps to reduce it. Exiting the BRI could save Italy money on infrastructure projects.
The change in government. Italy’s new government is more skeptical of China than the previous government. The new government is likely to be more willing to take steps to reduce Italy’s reliance on China.
It remains to be seen how Italy’s exit from the BRI will affect its relationship with China. However, it is clear that the BRI is no longer seen as a panacea for Italy’s economic problems.