The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative from the Central European Perspective – Rhetoric Versus Reality
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Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Publication date: 2020-06-19
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(4):67–83
The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, announced by President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan in 2013, attracted a lot of attention in both the global media, and the academic community. This vague idea which has been evolving since then, has not necessarily led to many practical achievements. Nonetheless, it has become very popular in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), as their governments have perceived it as a chance for diversification in their foreign policies, as well as in economic relations. Apart from the Belt and Road Initiative, CEEC countries have been implementing concurrent platform of 16+1 since 2011, being also presented as an important stepping stone in providing the Chinese with a backdoor entrance to Europe. In both cases the reality is far behind expectations, especially in economic terms. Chinese investments are still relatively low in most CEEC countries, especially in those that are EU members. This paper will try to assess both initiatives and their convergence by comparing reality with declarations, especially in economic terms. Reference will be made to certain neo-liberal as well as neo-realist theories and the research will be based on legal analysis, comparative analysis, as well as mostly on descriptive statistics.