fredag 27. september 2019

How China Challenges the EU in the Western Balkans

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced what we now know as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a $900 billion global project that would seek to connect international trade routes in a modern day version on the Silk Road. As a result of this project, China has emerged as a relatively new yet significant actor in the Western Balkans.

The cornerstone of China’s economic expansion into southeastern Europe has been its purchase of the Greek port of Piraeus, which China has transformed into the second largest port on the Mediterranean. This makes the Western Balkans a key strategic region for investment from China’s perspective, as China has a vested interest in seeing infrastructure in the Western Balkans improve so it can transport goods shipped in from Piraeus through the Western Balkans and into the EU’s common market of over half a billion consumers. Additionally, an assumed interest of China’s is that its investments in the Western Balkans are also a way for it to gain economic footholds in countries that are supposed to eventually become EU member states, some potentially as early as 2025.