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Statement by President von der Leyen on the Global Gateway

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op woensdag 1 december 2021.

Good afternoon to all of you, good to see you again,

First of all, I want to thank the HR/VP, Josep Borrell; you, Jutta; and Oliver Várhelyi, who is remotely connected to us, for the excellent preparation and cooperation to get Global Gateway up and running. It is now - that is a coincidence - exactly two years since this Commission is in office. And in the first two years, we have very much focused on accelerating the twin transition, here in Europe - the European Green Deal and the digitalisation. You all know that we have invested and we are investing massively in the infrastructure, but of course also in skills.

And therefore, today, with this Global Gateway, we are showing that we now step outwards to support around the world the investment in infrastructure that is necessary for our partners. We all know that there is a huge investment need out there, when it comes to global infrastructure. Of course, all countries need a lot of investment in the real economy to create jobs but also to increase or to improve the livelihoods of their citizens. And there is a second element, that is so important in this infrastructure, that is needed to be invested in, it is the kind of modern infrastructure that holds the key to tackle the challenges we have today. First of all, of course, fighting climate change; but also the question of sustainable development for developing countries; the question of global health security - it is a new big topic, since almost two years now. And with that occurred also the question of resilient, open, reliable supply chains.

Now, when it comes to investment choices, they are currently relatively limited. And the few options that exist too often come with a lot of small print, which includes big consequences - be it financially, politically, but often also socially. This is why we are convinced that countries need trusted partners to design projects that are sustainable and that are of high quality. We want projects that are implemented with a high level of transparency and good governance, and quality. And in the very end, these projects have to deliver on the ground tangible results that benefit the local communities and the people in the respective countries.

Global Gateway is this positive offer: Global Gateway is the European Union's plan, or you may call it roadmap, for major investment in infrastructure development around the world. We want to take a different approach. We want to show that a democratic, value-driven approach can deliver on the most pressing challenges. We want to show that it can, on one hand meet local needs, but also on the other hand tackle the global challenges we have, and thus in a way also of course benefit the European Union. Because Global Gateway is also about our strategic interests around the world. It is a new strategic approach to investment.

Global Gateway will mobilise EUR 300 billion until 2027. It will invest around the world to support our priorities, that is the green and the digital transition. Think for example of investment in clean hydrogen. We have partner countries that have an abundance of renewable energy, think of wind or solar, to produce hydrogen, which is of interest for them as well as for us. Or think of underwater data cables connecting two continents, for example, as a project. Global Gateway will also focus on transport links, healthcare capacities - I said at the beginning that the global health security is one of the big topics. But it will also support schools and education systems, because we know by experience from our investment at home, here, it is the investment in infrastructure but also in skills. Therefore, Global Gateway will also invest, support schools and education systems.

We want to make Global Gateway a trusted brand that stands out because of high quality, reliable standards and high-level of transparency and good governance. We are deeply convinced that this will ensure that the investment makes a real difference on the ground and that this is done in a sustainable way. To make all that happen, we need to deliver, not only in a strategic way, but at speed and at scale.

And my final point is therefore on implementation. First of all, this is a ‘Team Europe' approach, so the European Commission with the Member States and with the European financial institutions. Secondly, to give it the scale that is necessary, we need to involve the private sector. And this is not just about attracting financial capital - of course this is important - but with that, we are also attracting technology and know-how capital that this private business sector can bring along. And the third topic for implementation is, of course, political leadership. You have to take it to the upper level. Therefore, it is here anchored at the highest political level. And we will bring it forward. For example, the first test case will be the African Union-European Union Summit that we will have in spring, just to show: These are the first flagships we are starting now, bringing to this project and making them happen.

Last but not least, we are not alone; we have like-minded partners that are planning the same. I have co-hosted, together with President Biden at the COP26, an event exactly on that topic. The Americans call their initiative ‘Build Back Better World'. But we are also aligning with our British friends, with ‘Clean Green'. So it is for us important to make sure that there is a different way to deliver in this infrastructure globally and to show that mainly democracy, value-driven investments can deliver on the ground.

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