The EU and the United States are already the world’s biggest providers of official development assistance (ODA), representing more than 60 percent of all international ODA ($161 billion in 2020), and the United States is the single greatest provider ($35 billion in 2020) while the EU is the largest group provider ($67 billion in 2020). To put this into perspective, since the launch of the BRI in 2013, the EU and the United States together have contributed $800 billion to global development—more foreign aid to developing countries than China’s BRI loans. Further, a grant represents a much bigger financial contribution than a loan, and the EU’s donations alone ($550 billion since 2013) are greater than the BRI’s infrastructure lending thus far.
As we enter uncertain times in a post-pandemic and stressed global economic world, there is no better time than now to develop a transatlantic strategy that will not only counter the negative repercussion of the BRI, but will be proactive in promoting new opportunities in the transatlantic space. A new transatlantic effort will go far in shoring up and injecting renewed purpose in the global rules-based order.
Dr. Valbona Zeneli is currently the Chair of the Strategic Initiatives Department at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. She is also a visiting Europe’s Futures Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna. The views expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Marshall Center, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.