“How can the EU and Central and Eastern European countries address the challenges and opportunities created by regional and bilateral CEEC-China cooperation in the context of the 16+1 Platform?” The question is at the centre of the research that is conducted by the Centre for European Perspective in cooperation with CASE Poland and Centre for European Policy, Belgrade in the framework of “THINK Initiative”, a platform to spark and lead the discussion about proactive strategies for the EU and neighbouring regions. The Initiative brings to the debate a young, creative, and academic perspective and its goal is to bring together researchers, public, and private actors to develop joint strategies and common responses.

Central and Eastern European countries, included in the  “16+1 Platform”, are lacking both a national and a common foreign policy strategy towards China. The EU is also lacking its own comprehensive strategy to address the influence of China in the CEE region. A challenge in the existing literature is the scarcity of comprehensive academic assessments of the relations between the CEE countries and China.

The goal of this research is to propose recommendations for an overarching coordinated political response to Chinese actors in the CEE region. The recommendations will be focused on addressing opportunities and threats stemming out of the Belt and Road Initiative for the individual CEE countries, CEE as a Platform and EU as a unit. So far the research team has developed 4 scenarios as illustration of the spectrum of possible future developments allowing policy makers to make informed strategic decisions and anticipate surprises. Each scenario is supported by few of overall 11 hypotheses, focused on (1) results of the 16+1 Platform, (2) importance of the CEE region for China, (3) benefits of the 16+1 Platform, (4) 16+1 Platform in relation to Europe n (its strategic importance for future cohesion and cooperation in Europe and EU)

The study enables the CEE and the EU to coordinate their foreign policy on China in order to strengthen their strategic position in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative. The study provides analytical support to business and financial decision-makers, as well as It advances the political and academic discourse on the future of relations between the CEE countries, (the EU) and China.

Find more details in the executive summary here:

THINK Initiative – Executive Summary (16+1 Platform)