Brussels - 14 September 2022

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed that the EU Global Gateway, Europe’s flagship infrastructure development plan, is “already delivering on the ground” in the annual State of the Union speech today (14 September). Yet a recent civil society report, The Emperor’s New Clothes: What’s new about the EU’s Global Gateway?, has found that the current design of the initiative will not promote genuine international development which benefits people and communities in the Global South.

Frank Vanaerschot, Director of Counter Balance, said:

“Von der Leyen claims the EU Global Gateway is already delivering, but the key question is for who? With the Gateway plagued by a lack of transparency, it is difficult to discern whether the Commission is seeking to provide genuine support to communities in the Global South, or is subjugating international development for realpolitik.”

“The Gateway’s focus on creating favourable conditions for European companies suggests it is more concerned with markets than people. It should concentrate less on ‘de-risking’ private sector investments, and more on alleviating poverty and helping to build just, green and sustainable societies.”

Jean Saldanha, Director of the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:

“Today’s State of the Union speech failed to acknowledge the impact of the food and energy crisis on the Global South and the need for EU solidarity with these communities. Indeed, the word ‘development’ did not appear once. This failure is also clear in the Global Gateway initiative which, as documented in our new report, has no clear development mandate. Furthermore, its governance structure is made up of EU member states, EU delegations and a Business Advisory Group - with no representation from civil society or so-called ‘partner countries’.

“The announcement of ‘a leaders’ meeting with President Biden to review and announce implementation projects’ points to the continuing, troubling trend in the current narrative on global partnerships: instrumentalising them for strategic interests rather than promoting sustainable development as a global public good.

“We need a true EU development strategy that centres on the welfare of the people and the sustainability of the environment. The EU’s credibility as a key global development player is at stake.”

For more information, please contact:

Julia Ravenscroft, Communications Manager, Eurodad: +44 7958 184695,

Paul Creeney, Media and Communications Officer, Counter Balance: +32 (0)2 893 08 61,

Notes to Editors

Picture: © European Union 2022 - Source : EP