Facts and Findings

Western Balkans’ cooperation with China

by President of ESTIMA 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.

Daniel Braun

Daniel Braun

Head of Office in North Macedonia and Kosovo

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

Jan Senkyr

Jan Senkyr bild

Advisor Foreign and Security Policy

jan.senkyr@kas.de +49 30 26996-3936

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