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March 19, 2019 

Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Europe this week, with his state visit to Italy (March 21 to 24) attracting a lot of attention. That’s because the Italian coalition government is expected to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s ambitious global trade and infrastructure program. Rome’s move comes at a time when elsewhere in the EU concerns about BRI are growing and Europe tries to forge a coordinated China policy, says Lucrezia Poggetti, research associate at MERICS.  In the latest MERICS Experts Podcast, she argues that Rome’s support for BRI would legitimize China’s geopolitical ambitions while Italy and Italian companies would get little in return.