China's New World Order and European Fragmentation: The Ideological Underpinnings of the BRI Success in Central-Eastern Europe

Malgorzata Jakimow

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been presented largely as a series of infrastructure investments aimed at economic growth and improved interconnectivity. Despite much suspicion about the military and economic expansionism underlying the project in the Beijing's neighbourhood of South-East Asia, the EU's response has been overall less cautious. The Central-Eastern European (CEE) counties in particular have quickly joined the competition to become the next important hub of the BRI. In order to understand the initial success of the BRI politics in CEE, I argue that it is necessary to link it to the wider ideological transformations taking place in both China and the European Union. By employing the insights from the constructivist IR theories, this paper seeks to understand how both parties' motivations and perceptions of the other, and of other important players in international politics, contribute to the successful introduction of the project in the CEE. In order to do so, this paper analyses the government, think tanks' and intellectuals' publications in China (in Chinese) and the CEE (taking the case study of Poland as the main case study). This paper is intended as a preliminary analysis, which opens a discussion about the intentions, ideas and perceptions behind the BRI developments in China and CEE, and their role for the future of the EU-China relations.





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