On 12 July 2021, the Council approved conclusions on “A Globally Connected Europe”. This highlights the need for the EU to pursue a geostrategic and global approach to connectivity. The aim is to advance its economic, foreign and development policy and security interests and to promote European values.
The conclusions build on the 2018 Joint Communication and Council Conclusions, “Connecting Europe and Asia – building blocks for an EU Strategy”. They reaffirm the same basic principle, namely that connectivity should be sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based.
This conclusions highlight the importance of connectivity for economic growth, security and resilience. Better connectivity would contribute to the diversification of value chains, reduce strategic dependencies and boost competitiveness for the EU and its partners.
ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) highlights that the EU connectivity agenda has an important role to play in implementing the Commission priorities for 2019-2024, notably the European Green Deal and a Europe fit for the Digital Age.
The Council stresses the importance of investing in both physical infrastructure and regulatory frameworks. It calls on the Commission and High Representative to coordinate with member states and European businesses, as well as with financial and development institutions, in order to pursue the EU’s connectivity aims. It notes the need for predictable international norms and standards in order to maintain a level playing field and incentivise private investment.
The Council also emphasises Connectivity Partnerships with like-minded countries and regions. Such partnerships can help promote compatibility and complementarity of connectivity actions and initiatives, in full cooperation with beneficiaries. The Council encourages the operationalisation of existing partnerships with Japan and India. In addition , it calls for additional partnerships and cooperation, including with ASEAN and the United States. Cooperation within multilateral fora, including the G7 and G20, is also encouraged. The Council welcomes, in particular, G7 discussions to build back better for the world.
To implement this ambitious connectivity agenda, the conclusions call for a new Joint Communication by spring 2022. Additional actions are foreseen in the following domains:
identifying and implementing a set of high impact and visible projects and actions globally
presenting streamlined financing schemes to incentivise investments
mobilising the private sector to finance and implement projects
ensuring visibility of the EU’s global connectivity actions
ensuring efficient cooperation and coordination between all stakeholders
Source: Council of the EU Press Releases