The Four Faces of China in Central and Eastern Europe

China’s Belt and Road Initiative winds its way into Europe including cooperation and projects with 16 Central and Eastern Europe nations. The sixth annual meeting of 16+1 heads of state convened in Hungary to plan investments in technology, finance, agriculture, health, education and more, Michal Romanowski, with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, categorizes four types of Chinese involvement in the region: As connector, China invests in infrastructure, presenting a warning for Brussels not to neglect Central and Eastern Europe. As shaper, China often overlooks diversity and treats the region as a single bloc, which in turn can prompt caution. As investor, China has not made Central and Eastern Europe a priority, and the United States and the European Union are responsible for the bulk of the region’s foreign investment. Still, China with ample resources can be regarded as challenger for enterprises inside the region and beyond. “It should be remembered in Central and Eastern Europe that China has grown into a promoter of globalization not only out of goodwill but due to its own national interests,” Romanowski notes. He urges leaders throughout the region and Europe as a whole to adopt a similar pragmatic attitude. – YaleGlobal