WASHINGTON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. expert on Europe said here Tuesday that more European countries are expected to join the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and that such actions should be encouraged.
"I think more countries will sign up to the BRI," Liselotte Odgaard, a senior fellow at Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, told a seminar that examined Europe's relationship with China and the United States.
"A lot of countries would like to attract Chinese investments...which I think we should encourage," she said.
Odgaard, whose work focuses on U.S.-China-Europe relations, also spoke in favor of the deal between Italy and China with regard to the BRI, saying that the agreement had "stayed within the confines of the general EU-China agreement."
Odgaard noted that China is already active in many parts of Europe with investment programs and is likely to continue its presence there.
Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, secretary-general of the European Council of Ministers and former Danish Ambassador to China, echoed Odgaard at the seminar, saying that Europe is "happy to engage with China when it comes to connectivity."
Both Odgaard and Tranholm-Mikkelsen said any agreement reached between China and European countries should be in accordance with existing rules, and should reflect the interests of all parties involved.
Proposed by China in 2013 to promote common growth and shared benefits, the BRI involves infrastructure development, trade and investment facilitation and people-to-people exchanges that aim to improve connectivity on a trans-continental scale.