Handbook for stakeholders: Empty shell no more: China’s growing footprint in Central and Eastern Europe

The new CHOICE (China Observers in Central and Eastern Europe) audit now comes also in the form of a handbook for stakeholders. The handbook summarizes the key takeaways from the unique audit of 17+1 undertaken by CHOICE. The full-length publication can be accessed here.

The audit reveals that the People’s Republic of China has been increasingly active in political, economic and societal domains in the countries gathered in China-led 17+1 platform. The 17+1 initiative, founded in 2012, has been labeled by some as an ‘empty shell’ with the assertion that cooperation between Central and Eastern Europe with China lacks substance. However, it is only when the whole picture is analyzed that the progress and direction of the 17+1 platform becomes evident. Contrary to what has been often assumed, the 17+1 cooperation is loaded with action. While results in the economic domain are falling behind expectations, political and societal ties have seen a huge uptick, resulting in a dramatic rise of China’s presence in the region.

Ten experts from Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania covered the most important developments in the fields of political, economic and people-to-people areas of cooperation, identifying the underlying trends. Based on a thorough analysis, the publication offers a set of realistic and achievable suggestions for a joint action plan for the CEE countries within an ACT strategy, the goal of which is to offset the imbalance in the relationship with China. The publication argues that the CEE countries should ‘hijack’ the platform, using it as a tool to promote their interests vis-a-vis Beijing, rather than passively accepting its agenda.

Click here to read the audit - https://chinaobservers.eu/handbook-for-stakeholders-empty-shell-no-more…