Super Mario’s not playing. Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi won’t be leading the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative, the bloc’s plan to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative around the world and boost the economies of emerging countries by mobilising €300 billion in investment funds through public and private action.
- This much was confirmed by his entourage while speaking to our sister website…
- … and resonated with Mr Draghi’s earlier stances. “I am not interested in political or institutional positions, either in Italy or abroad”, he told Corriere della Sera in December.
- “I am a grandfather; I have four grandchildren. And I enjoy the right of grandparents to be able to choose what to do,” he had quipped.
Tracing back the steps. Over the past weeks, the rumour spread like wildfire. Allegedly, reported Noah Barkin (Visiting Senior Fellow of the German Marshall Fund) and the German daily Handelsblatt, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen would have been looking “with sympathy” on Mr Draghi’s appointment as EU Special Envoy to the Global Gateway.
- While he was PM, Mr Draghi de facto froze the BRI Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the previous Italian government with China. That would have entailed Italy becoming the first and only G7 country to join the Chinese project.
- As US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman noted, now Italy “has eyes very wide open about the [People’s Republic of China], about their coercive actions around the world.”