INTERNATIONAL ROUND TABLE AND PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH ON
CHINA’S ECONOMIC INFLUENCE IN EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES: POLAND, WESTERN
BALKANS, THE BALTICS, UKRAINE
Year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the ’17+1 initiative’, a mechanism of China-CEEC Cooperation, which was set up to promote China’s relations with CEE countries. Yet, no big celebrations are foreseen. Moreover, no summits or other landmark events are planned, as no single CEE country has shown an enthusiasm to host an event of this type. A visible fatigue to the format is definitely observed in Europe, which has been metaphorically described by one Eastern European diplomat as an approach of the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: to smile and then to disappear. “We are not going to be loud about it”, – he said. “But we are ignoring all 16+1 invitations.”
The crisis in China-CEE relations has started long before the war in Ukraine, but it has been severely aggravated by it. With crystal clear European stance to condemn russian aggression in Ukraine, the ambiguous China’s position on unprovoked war of russia has not been comprehended by most of CEE countries. Western sanctions on russia also played their role. With disrupted logistics and freight via russia and belarus, China no longer (at least, for the time being) can develop ambitious infrastructure projects linking Asia and Europe through these countries. This has already resulted in the fact that zero investments under Belt and Road Initiative have been put into russia in first half of 2022. Close-to-down China’s investment activity has been also observed in CEE region and Europe as a whole. Chinese side complains that its pragmatic cooperation with CEEC has been affected by geopolitics and emotions fanned by the US.
These questions were discussed at the International Round Table “Dragon Diplomacy in Europe: Ambitions Unmatched? How China Wins Over Europe with Economic Tools”, which was held by the Eastern Europe Security Institute on August 10, 2022 in the zoom-conference format.
The discussion of these issues was based on the presentation of research on the forms and methods of the Chinese economic strategy in Poland, the Western Balkans, the Baltic countries (with a special focus on Lithuania) and in Ukraine. In addition, the discussion will cover research on the position of the US and the policy of Biden Administration with regard to China’s presence in Europe.
These studies are part of the project to develop cooperation networks among European think tanks, implemented with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the EU4USociety project. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation.
Speakers of the Event:
The event was moderated by the Eastern Europe Security Institute.