“China’s strategic considerations for infrastructure building in the Central and Eastern European Region”, Gergely Kádár (IWE CERS, Hungary)

The following essay aims to answer whether China has any strategic consideration for infrastructure building in the Central and Eastern European region. In order to do so, it first introduces the role of the infrastructure industry in China’s economic development, the evolution of the industry, sectoral development within, as well as its China specific attributes. For comparative purposes, the nature of Chinese infrastructure strategy abroad – the Belt and Road Initiative is also detailed. The role of the Belt and Road Initiative, Europe and the Central and Eastern European region are discussed within the Chinese foreign policy context. Finally, based on all previous findings, Chinese infrastructure projects within the Central and Eastern European region were evaluated according to their contribution to China’s interest in its infrastructure industry, foreign policy, and BRI objectives. The essay fails to pinpoint CEE region specific strategies – meaning it could not identify localized methods of implementation, a regional factor that makes CEE essential for Chinese interests, or an overarching vision independent from existing global strategies that would guide infrastructure investment within the CEE region. It concludes that Chinese activities there are based on previously existing practices, follow general foreign policy directions and are unambitious by scope and vision.

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