China´s growing presence in Central and Eastern Europe. A matter of concern? - Europabüro Brüssel
Conference of the Andrássy University Budapest and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. European Office
The extent and intensity of Chinese activism are particularly notable in the Western Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. China's economic and political profile expanded unusually rapidly in CEE countries before the pandemic. What do these activities look like? Do Chinese activities influence or constrain the choices and options of political and economic elites in the region? Because of its sheer size, China will inevitably play a role in the CEE: China is the world's largest trader and producer and has a substantial pool of foreign exchange reserves and capital that the CEEs understandably want to tap. China is known for using economic and political carrots and sticks to achieve widespread public relations. When China floods a country not only with investment but also with strategic messages designed to sway public opinion, there is often little room for counterarguments, especially in countries without independent media or with weak civil societies. Moreover, civil society and academia are often too weak to provide balanced coverage of the activities of external powers as they seek to shape domestic narratives or replace them with their own. China, like other external powers (such as Russia), cultivates friendly voices in almost all countries. But in some countries, there are few counterweights.
The goal of the conference is to paint a clearer and more balanced picture of Chinese activism and messages in CEE countries and their impact on these countries and the European Union. How are CEE countries, the EU and other European actors dealing with these challenges?