When All Roads Lead to Beijing. Assessing China's New Silk Road and its Implications for Europe
The Belt and Road, unveiled by President Xi Jinping in late 2013, is China’s most ambitious geo-economic and foreign policy initiative in decades, combining a land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and a sea-based 21st Century Maritime Silk Road which connect China to Europe. With this grandiose initiative, Beijing seeks to tackle industrial overcapacity at home and acquire political influence abroad through investment. Sitting at the end-point of the maritime Silk Road, Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean have been the main focus of investment in infrastructure projects so far. If managed successfully by both sides, China’s Belt and Road could be a great opportunity for a European continent that is still struggling to recover from the crisis. What is urgently needed in Europe is a comprehensive response to China’s new initiative, with the focus not only on the economy and trade, but also on the monetary and financial aspects of the Belt and Road, including discussion of the political and security implications of Beijing’s inroads into Europe and its neighbourhood.
Keywords: China, Silk Road, Europe, investments, infrastructure