Located at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, which is the end-point of China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Italy is considered by Chinese leaders to be an important piece in the implementation of OBOR. Italian ports and rail connections to the markets in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe have become the focus of attention for the Italian government, and the Chinese are keen to exploit opportunities in the logistics and infrastructure sectors to promote the Maritime Silk Road. There is, however, not much discussion in Italy’s national media as to what China’s ‘Belt and Road’ is – and what it entails. Likewise, Italian policy-makers do not seem to be very aware of the Chinese initiative. It is the business community – particularly some large private enterprises and state-controlled companies – that is at the forefront of promoting OBOR in Italy.
Italy’s Key OBOR Project: The ‘Five-Port Alliance’
Italy in China’s ‘Ports Strategy’