From Rule-Taker to Rule-Shaper? - China's changing Global Role and its Implications for the Western Balkans


PR China’s economic rise has been increasingly accompanied by attempts to exert political and diplomatic influence, as well as to promote its political model and values. Its novel foreign policy approach has put China at odds with the USA and other Western powers, including the EU and several member states, especially after China’s retaliation following EU’s sanctions against 4 Chinese officials. In such an increasingly polarized geopolitical landscape, the Western Balkans could be faced with difficult choices and decisions. While admittedly they are entitled to maintain and develop their cooperation  with China, they will have to make sure that it is conducted in a way that does not hamper their EU accession process and does not alienate their Western partners. Hence, it will be imperative for them to build their strategic position on a balanced foundation of values and interests.
During the period March-April 2021, ESTIMA in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Skopje prepared a policy analysis and hosted a panel discussion with the goal to examine the current dilemmas that the Western Balkan countries may be facing in light of the recent EU-China developments, to weigh the potential benefits and risks of the cooperation with China, to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of China’s presence in the Western Balkans and to provide recommendations that could help policymakers both in the region and in the EU to make informed choices regarding China-related issues.
The analysis is available here in English and Macedonian.
For more information available in EN/CN/FR/MK please contact us.