Richard Q. Turcsányi asks whether the EU's being increasingly suspicious of China’s specialized outreach to Central and Eastern Europe is justified.
The EU is increasingly suspicious of China’s specialized outreach to Central and Eastern Europe. Should it be?
With the sixth premiers’ summit of China-Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) 16+1 cooperation in Budapest, there seem to be growing tensions between China and Western Europe over this initiative. There is little economic rationale for that attitude, and it is in no one’s interest.
Even from the beginning of the 16+1 process in 2011-12, Brussels, Berlin, and elsewhere in Western Europe (and perhaps beyond) had concerns about the initiative. These were fueled by the somewhat opaque organization and non-transparent nature of the unusual cooperation. Yet since 2013 the situation had calmed down a bit, partly due to the regular presence of European External Action Service (EEAS) officials at the official meetings of the platform and their involvement in drafting the documents. Comments in recent months, however, suggest that the truce might be over.
Voices from Germany and EU institutions see Chinese activities in the CEE region as affecting the unity of the EU, undermining high-level standards, and exercising negative influence over EU members and potential members’ strategic choices.
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