China both participates in the existing framework of European international relations and, through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it engages in constituting “a qualitatively different regional relationality”. Under the auspices of the so-called "17 + 1" mechanism, China has been developing relations with sixteen Central and East European (CEE) states: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This chapter analyses the strategic narratives of the CEE countries. The BRI has provided an opportunity to assert the independence of CEE states from the alleged “dictatorship” of the EU. The BRI has been used for the internal differentiation between the CEE countries. The intention has been to demonstrate that some of the CEE countries are more valuable (that is, more deserving) of Chinese investment than others. The BRI has also been used by the CEE states to assert their own self-identification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)