July 4 —The Vienna Institute of International Comparative Economics (WIIW) has released a proposal for a “European Silk Road” with investments ranging up to €1 trillion over a 10-year period, focussed on two main corridors. The WIIW proposal is addressed in particular to the Austrian government, for an initiative among the EU partner countries, to be launched during Austria’s half-year rotating EU presidency, which began on July 1.
The WIIW proposals delineate the two corridors. One is Between Lyon and Moscow, extended to Barcelona and Lisbon in the west, and to Nishny Novgorod, Samara and Uralsk in the east. The second corridor runs from Milan to Zurich, Vienna, and Budapest, Bucharest, and Constanta, extended eastward to Novorossyisk and Volgograd, with another branch running to Poti, Tbilisi, and Baku. This can, the survey says, create up to 7 million new jobs, in projects of building bridges, railroads, highways, ports, and other infrastructure.
Explaining the survey, WIIW board member Dionys Lehner said that if Europe had plenty of money to stabilize the volatile banking sector after 2008, money should not be held back where infrastructure projects of this importance are concerned. Particularly the Russian aspect of it is of immediate interest for Austria: More than €300 million of new exports for the Austrian economy annually could be expected to result from such a program.