The Emperor’s New Clothes: What’s new about the EU’s Global Gateway?

In 2021, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the EU Global Gateway in her State of the Union speech. She claimed it was the EU’s new flagship strategy, investing in infrastructure to counter the influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. One year later, a new Eurodad and Counter Balance report reveals that the Global Gateway lacks a clear development mandate.

The report, The Emperor’s New Clothes: What’s new about the EU’s Global Gateway?, shows how the strategy lacks a development focus, and its design and strategy is shrouded in secrecy and is without public scrutiny. All of this raises serious doubts on whether the Gateway is little more than a public relations exercise by the European Commission.

Our analysis shows that the Global Gateway is more about ‘de-risking’ private investments and favouring European economic interests abroad than offering long-term sustainable development for non-European countries. This is a dubious diversion of EU development funds that is particularly worrying at this moment of multiple energy, climate and social crises.

The current context of multiple crises calls for a development strategy that centres on the welfare of the people and the sustainability of the environment. EU development funds are scarce and play a unique role in the support of countries and peoples most in need. It is imperative to avoid a controversial diversion to serve competing priorities. Without addressing these urgent needs, the EU’s credibility as a key global development player is at stake.