Macron Appoints Ex-Engie Chief as Envoy for Asia-EU Corridor
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has chosen Gerard Mestrallet, the former head of Engie, as a special envoy for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), a multinational rail and ports project. This initiative is considered an alternative to China's Belt and Road initiative. Macron's intention is to position France as a key player in the project and ensure favorable conditions for French companies in its early stages.
IMEC, launched during the G20 Summit in New Delhi last September, is part of efforts by Washington and Brussels to counter China's global infrastructure initiative. It aims to create railway links between Middle East countries and ports connecting to India, facilitating the streamlined flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe. Anticipated benefits include reduced shipping times, costs, and fuel consumption, according to U.S. and European officials.
The memorandum of understanding for IMEC was signed by the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S., and other G20 partners. IMEC envisions two separate corridors: an east corridor connecting India to the Gulf and a northern corridor linking the Gulf with Europe, as outlined in the MOU. Along the railway route, participants plan to install cables for power and data lines, as well as a pipeline for hydrogen derived from renewable energy for use in power generation.