picture alliance / Xinhua News Agency | Li Xiaowei

Facts and Findings

Western Balkans’ cooperation with China

by Ana Krstinovska

Between values and interests

China is also expanding its influence in the Western Balkans and promoting its political model of values. The motivation is driven by the Belt and Road Initiative. Economical activities create dependencies that can be used for political pressure. In addition, China managed to present itself as a close partner in the pandemic, while the EU was not perceived as a safety net. Confidence is decreasing. But China's involvement also reveals deficits. What follows?
  • The Western Balkans region is of geostrategic importance. Some of the countries are already official EUcandidate countries and / or NATO members. However, the slowed pace of EU enlargement is causing many societies to stagnate or the elites to open up to other geopolitical and economic policy options.
  • China has significantly intensified its involvement in the region and wants to integrate the region into its Silk Road initiative. The long-term Chinese strategy is not only aimed at expanding its economic strength, but also at promoting its value model in contrast to the West.
  • China benefits from the fact that many of the countries are very open to supposedly unconditional investments in their own infrastructure or that there are political systems in which lack of transparency and susceptibility to corruption unfortunately play a major role.
  • For the European Union, this means stepping up its efforts to integrate and reform the states and, above all, to communicate in the region that the countries in the region continue to have a European perspective.
  • The region is of great interest to the EU in terms of both economic and security policy.
Contact Person

Daniel Braun

Daniel Braun

Leiter des Auslandsbüros Nordmazedonien und Kosovo

daniel.braun@kas.de +389 (2) 3217075 +389 (2) 3217076
Contact Person

Daniela Braun

Daniela Braun bild

Foreign and Security Affairs

daniela.braun@kas.de +49 30 26996-3399

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About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


Dr. Kristin Wesemann


Leiterin Stabsstelle Strategie und Planung

Kristin.Wesemann@kas.de + 49 30 26996 3803

Marianne Graumann

Teamleiterin Publikationen, Print und Qualitätssicherung

marianne.graumann@kas.de +49 30 26996 3726 +49 30 26996 53726