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A sea of opportunities: The EU and China in the Mediterranean

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Abstract

Asia’s new economic and political strength—particularly China’s—and its increasing economic ties with Europe are giving the Mediterranean region an opportunity to once again be the place in the world where “things happen.” This opportunity is amplified by rapid economic growth in Africa, the countries’ of which, in the past decade, have exploited the discovery of new oil and gas fields and developed such sectors as mining, fishing, and agriculture. Now Africa is a key supplier to China and a growing market for Chinese and European goods. However, this new Mediterranean centrality should not be taken for granted. New economic links, trade, and investments must be built, because the Mediterranean Sea is not the only way to link Europe and Asia. Mediterranean ports face tough competition from Northern European ports, and this could become even tougher with a potential permanent opening of a new sea route through the Arctic. Today this route is opened for a few weeks per year, but if expected climate changes continue, this route could become profitable. Another source of competition that could arise is from the new railways that are connecting and expected to connect China and Europe. Today the number of rail routes is still small, but that could increase in the near future thanks to new railway tracks and new agreements among the countries crossed by the railway networks. These routes will be a competitive threat to the economies of the Mediterranean region, especially for the transport of high-value-added goods that need a shorter time to market. How will Europe face these challenges?

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Source

Mediterranean Quarterly

ISSN:1047-4552

Year:2015

Issue:1

Volume:26

Page:1-4

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