Tue, 07 Jul 2020

Istanbul [Turkey], June 3 (ANI): Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and experts believe that the European Union that has been hit hard economically due to Wuhan-originated coronavirus should look for an alternative to China.

Speaking at a webinar, many of them opined that India being a diplomatic nation provides a conducive atmosphere for the European investors.

The event was organised by the Economic Development Foundation, Istanbul (IKV), a non-governmental research organisation specialised on the EU and Turkey-EU relations.

Thierry Mariani, a Member of the European Parliament and Former Minister of State for Transport of France said that the countries were relying too much on China and they needed to look for other markets.

He said, "For me, this new Silk Road is just one opportunity but it cannot be said that it is the only opportunity. If we want to have peace and good development then we should have initiatives with other countries. China is an important country but India is also an important country and would become a more and more important country.""We know that India is well advanced in this subject and this includes the peace pipeline project. We should link Iran, Pakistan and India or TAPI which links Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India," added the French MEP.

He also said that India had played a crucial role in connecting the different regions of the globe and Europe should follow the path.

"The Indian government is very active to develop an alternative to the Silk Road. In November 2017, New Delhi launched Asia-Africa growth Corridor with Japan which aims to strengthen the trade between two continents. India has indeed understood the concern of the Sub-Africa and the Asian states. In this project, Europe could take an important place," said Mariani.

Former Deputy Foreign Minister, Hungary, Istvan Szent Ivanyi said that Europe was not necessarily required to snap all ties with China but should look for an option an opportunity in India.

"India has huge potential -- both political and economic. It is an important and reliable partner and it can be an alternative to China. I do not say cut all ties and bonds as that would be unrealistic but I think we have yielded something and have to look for the alternatives. India seems to be very good alternative in the future and I think we can use this opportunity."Secretary-General of Economic Development Foundation, Cigdem NAS said that China and the European Union were inherently very different.

"China presents a different government structure which can be a challenge to EU values and EU norms," said Cigdem NAS.

"Can we say that there is a contrast between the EU's government structure and the Chinese model of governance? Of course, there is a major difference. One is a more democratic model based on human rights while on the other side we are a more authoritarian, more closed sort of regime," Cigdem NAS added.

TOBB Vice President and Economic Development Foundation Chairperson, Ahyan Zeytinoglu, believes that the "European Union's current priority is to gain strategic autonomy. Too much dependence on China should be avoided. EU's links in its close vicinity gain importance."China has been criticised widely across the spectrum for its alleged role in the spread of the novel-coronavirus that has infected over 6.4 million people across the world. More than 382,000 people have lost their lives.

While some accuse it of being complicit, others deem it culpable in the spread. (ANI)

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